Thursday, February 11, 2010

Singapore Airshow: 58% Growth For Eurocopter In Asia

Defense News


Singapore Airshow: 58% Growth For Eurocopter In Asia

By Wendell Minnick

SINGAPORE - Eurocopter said Feb. 2 at the Singapore Airshow that in 2009 it recorded a turnover growth rate of 58 percent in Asia to reach $1.2 billion.

It also achieved a stable booking value over the past few years in Asia to achieve $700 million in 2009. Internationally the company has also done well with $6.2 billion in turnovers. The most popular helicopter models in demand in the market were the EC120, EC130, EC135, AS 350 B3, NH90 TTH and the EC725.

"Despite the global economic challenges, there have been many opportunities and achievements in Asia and it plays a critical component in Eurocopter's success," said Lutz Bertling, CEO of Eurocopter. "This region is home to half of Eurocopter's subsidiaries and is a top performing region for us. We are confident of Asia's growth prospects and look to grow our business in tandem with the region's development."

Though overall the market continued to improve in 2009 for larger helicopters, there was a decline in light range helicopters - "a trend reflected in Asia, as it is for the rest of the world," Bertling said.

Eurocopter has formed many partnerships in the region, including a partnership with the Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) in the Korean Helicopter Program. Eurocopter has also partnered with Beijing-based Aviation Industry of China (AVIC) in the development of the EC175/Z15.

"Both programs are on cost, on performance and on schedule," Bertling said.

Other 2009 achievements for the company in Asia includes the inauguration of Eurocopter's first Customer Service Centre in Hong Kong in February; the purchase in Japan of an 80 percent majority share in EuroHeli and a 60 percent share of All Nippon Airways Helicopter Maintenance, respectively, in April and June; the roll out of the first prototype of the Korean Utility Helicopter in July; and the maiden flight of the EC175 in December, four years after the start of development. Also in December the company opened a subsidiary branch in Thailand, and signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a new maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) facility in Malaysia.

"We have made significant steps in growing our presence in Asia. We will continue with that along with a specific target to be closer to our customers in this region," Bertling said.

Goals for 2010 include plans to inaugurate the MRO in Malaysia and an EC725/EC225 simulator, start EC725/EC225 tail boom manufacturing by PTDI of Indonesia, and complete the transfer of Eurocopter Southeast Asia headquarters to a larger facility in Seletar.