September 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the first export supplies of Kazan Helicopters. The first export was the delivery of a Mi-4 helicopter to Austria, to take people to local ski resorts.
In the early 1990s, hopes for large state orders were low. The management of Kazan Helicopters decided to create its own marketing service. To do that, the export and technical department was restructured and direct contacts with buyers and operators were established within a short time. First, it was necessary to save and develop the ties established over the previous decades.
After the reconstruction, the plant faced a shortage of a steady demand for its products. The marketing department of Kazan Helicopters had the task to acquire orders for the plant; in order to do so, the company started to actively promote itself at international airshows in France, Dubai, Taiwan, India and Great Britain. It helped to establish direct ties and to start concluding contracts, which could not be seized by foreign trade organizations. The first export contract after the fall of the USSR was signed by VO Aviaexport to supply three helicopters to Sri Lanka. Along with looking for clients and active promotion of the Mi-17-1V helicopter, the marketing department expanded its business ties with companies producing various additional equipment not available in Russia. New ideas for potential customers were introduced into the next modification of the legendary “Eight”. Due to the changes in the helicopter design adopted in the mid-1990s, the Mi-8MTV-5 helicopter (the export modification of Mi-17V-5) entered into military service in Russia.
Since 1998, the marketing service has been conducting regular conferences for operators. Specialists from different countries and operator companies began to join the workforce at the plant. It made it possible not only to increase the supplies of the serial Mi-17 helicopter in various modifications but also to set up a base of potential customers loyal to the new models.
The export history of Kazan Helicopters is inextricably connected with the history of the Russian aircraft industry, its successes and temporary hardships. The new stage in the development of the plant and the holding company as a whole is generally associated with the diversification of the product range and promotion of new hi-tech and innovative products, including the Mi-38 and Ansat helicopters.
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