Airbus H160 misses Heli-Expo due to airspace limits on Russian aircraft

Airbus H160 misses Heli-Expo due to airspace limits on Russian aircraft


Airbus Helicopters was expecting to bring an H160 to Dallas for Heli-Expo, but as we can see it never arrived.

Recently, many countries closed their airspace to Russian airlines, Russian-registered aircraft and other aircraft in Russian ownership. Typically, manufacturers of larger helicopters move aircraft around the world by air freight, unless there really isn’t an urgency in the delivery schedule when sea freight is the default. A cargo aircraft like a Boeing 747 is not large enough for the task, which usually means that an Antonov An124 is used – operated by either Antonov’s own in-house airline or Volga-Dnepr. With these aircraft not available to the airspace limitations, the H160 remains in France during Heli-Expo week.

One other option could have been for Airbus Helicopters to call on it’s airliner sister company, which has gigantic “Beluga” aircraft adapted from Airbus A300 airliners. We assume that it was too short notice to disrupt the airliner production schedule and press one of these into action for a trans-Atlantic crossing to get the H160 to the US

The aircraft which was to be shown is one of the prototypes, repainted in PHi colours for Heli-Expo. It is planned that it will remain in the US for FAA certification, which is now vicariously delayed. We expect that the aircraft will be sent by sea freight as soon as feasibly possible, so there is minimum impact on the FAA certification process.

The team notes that Airbus Helicopters have moved all their social media posts referring to the H160 arrival at Heli-Expo 2022.

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