The 78 bookings announced by Airbus Helicopters at this week’s Heli-Expo industry convention underscore the competitiveness of its product line – with acquisitions covering rotorcraft that range from the workhorse EC225 and the AS350 B2 and B3e, to the next-generation EC175, along with the new EC145 T2 and the evolved EC225e and AS332 C1e versions.
Included in this new business are key transactions with leasing companies, underscoring their increasing importance in the rotorcraft sector. Also announced at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California are Airbus Helicopters’ expanded and innovative services solutions, incorporating such elements as Level D full-flight simulators for the EC175 in France and the U.S., plus new and enhanced information services, the cloud-based helicopter maintenance information, and a standardization of services for helicopter upgrades.
The new EC175 – which was certified in January for deliveries beginning later this year – logged 14 orders with announcements at Heli-Expo. Noordzee Helicopters Vlaanderen (NHV), a launch customer is adding six to its previous order for 10 of the mid-sized, twin-engine helicopters; Lease Corporation International (LCI), a new Airbus Helicopters customer, is acquiring up to six EC175s; and CHI Aviation purchased two of the rotorcraft.
As a versatile rotorcraft with Airbus Helicopters’ new Helionix® avionics suite, the EC175 is the industry’s benchmark medium-sized twin-engine helicopter for a variety of missions, including transport duties in oil and gas operations, corporate and executive transport, search and rescue, emergency medical services and public services.
The EC145 T2, which is another new Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft to enter service in 2014, expanded its order book by a 25-rotorcraft booking from Waypoint Leasing. This latest-evolution member of the twin-engine EC145 family combines the company’s latest technologies, including an advanced cockpit design and modern Helionix® avionics, four-axis autopilot and Airbus Helicopters’ signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor.
For the workhorse EC225 and the new EC225e, orders were announced for 27 helicopters. Waypoint Leasing gave an important vote of confidence, placing an order for 12 of these high-performance, heavy twin-engine helicopters, while Lease Corporation International booked as many as 15. At Heli-Expo, Airbus Helicopters launched the enhanced EC225e Super Puma family version that features new Turbomeca Makila 2B turboshaft engines, more payload, an additional fuel tank for very long range flights, a new cabin layout for improved passenger comfort and new systems to significantly increase pilots’ situational awareness while reducing workload.
Certification of the EC225e is targeted for late 2015, followed by the start-up of deliveries in mid-2016.
The evolved AS332 C1e, exhibited for the first time at Heli-Expo, received a firm order for two additional helicopters from launch customer Starlite Aviation. One of the company’s two previously-ordered AS332 C1e was exhibited in its livery on the Airbus Helicopters’ exhibit stand, while the other helicopter will be deployed to Kosovo on medevac and utilities duties for the European Union.
The AS332 C1e comes with a standardized equipment definition for more rapid production times and cost-effective acquisition prices. It offers versatility across a full range of utility missions, especially in hot-and-high environments, as well as missions requiring a small footprint while delivering a significant lift capability for such applications as the vertical replenishment of ships.
Finishing off the bookings sheet were orders for seven AS350 B3e aircraft and three AS350 B2s from a total of five customers in the United States.
About Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is a division of Airbus Group, a global pioneer in aerospace and defense related services. Airbus Helicopters is the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer and employs more than 23,000 people worldwide. With 46 percent market share in civil and parapublic sectors, the company’s fleet in service includes some 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in approximately 150 countries. Airbus Helicopters’ international presence is marked by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries, and its worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents. Airbus Helicopters’ range of civil and military helicopters is the world’s largest; its aircraft account for one third of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. The company’s chief priority is to ensure the safe operation of its aircraft for the thousands of people who fly more than 3 million hours per year.
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