Airbus Helicopters and China’s Avicopter (the helicopters business unit of AVIC) today signed a joint agreement for the production of 1,000 new-generation EC175/AC352 rotorcraft, in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President François Hollande at the Elysée Palace in Paris.
The agreement cements the industrial partnership between Airbus Helicopters and AVIC on their jointly-developed EC175/AC352.
“Today’s agreement results from several years of close collaboration between our teams. It sets the stage for an unprecedented full-scale production framework by both partners and adds a new dimension to the relationship with Avicopter,” said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury.
“The production contract’s signature will allow both of us to satisfy the Chinese and worldwide market needs in the medium helicopter segment,” added Li Fangyong, AVIC Executive Vice President. “This also puts Avicopter’s production resources to work in the aviation industry’s global industrial chain.”
While development work has been equally shared between Airbus Helicopters and Avicopter for the EC175/AC352 project, production is likewise shared, combining the capabilities of both companies. Coming from a common platform, two different rotorcraft are being built: the AC352, assembled and supported from China by Avicopter, mainly for the Chinese market; and the EC175, assembled and supported by Airbus Helicopters from Marignane, France, for the worldwide market.
The EC175, certified earlier this year by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Europe’s airworthiness authority, is a highly capable, medium-sized twin-engine rotorcraft that meets global market requirements across a full range of missions – including offshore crew transport, search and rescue, VIP, utility and medical evacuation operations. Initial deliveries to its first three EC175 customers are planned by Airbus Helicopters later in 2014.
France and China launched their cooperation on EC175/AC352 in 2005, benefitting from 40 years of close ties between the partners on previous rotorcraft projects.
For more information, visit the EC175 website at: http://ec175.airbushelicopters.com/
Avicopter is the helicopter business unit under China Aviation Industry Corp (AVIC), the country’s leading aviation manufacturer. Avicopter is the biggest helicopter manufacturer in China, which deliver more than 100 aircraft annually with its various rotorcraft types ranging from 1-ton to 13-tons in terms of maximum take-off weight.
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 over 40% 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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