By Staff Writer | January 29, 2015
Building on an unprecedented year of new product certification and introduction, Airbus Helicopters has set its sights on best serving its customers in a challenging global marketplace, with the priority on customer satisfaction, quality and safety, and competitiveness.
During 2014, Airbus Helicopters delivered 471 rotorcraft from the company’s civil, parapublic and military product lines and booked 402 net orders. In addition, the backlog was adjusted to include a reduction of 33 NH90s.
In Airbus Helicopters’ first year with its new identity and full integration into Airbus Group, the company achieved an unprecedented certification and service introduction of three new aircraft: the 7-metric-ton-category EC175, along with the medium-sized EC145 T2 and EC135 T3/P3 versions.
Airbus Helicopters also marked significant progress with its transformation plan in 2014 by further enhancing customer support and services, with safety as the top priority. New product development made important headway last year as well, clearing the way for a 2015 first flight of its next-generation X4 medium twin-engine rotorcraft – to be unveiled at the Heli-Expo trade show on March 3.
These elements are positioning Airbus Helicopters for the future as it adapts to the global rotorcraft sector’s realities, according to President Guillaume Faury. “2015 should be a period of stabilization across our industry,” Faury explained. “In this context, Airbus Helicopters will continue its transformation, committed to working with our customers, offering them predictability and the right helicopters for their demanding missions.”
Photo courtesy Airbus Helicopters, by Lorette Fabre
Highlights of 2014 included strong commercial results for the EC145 rotorcraft family in both civil and military versions, logging a near doubling of orders booked during the year; while annual deliveries of heavyweight helicopters surpassed the 100 milestone for the first time as the company provided 53 NH90s and 48 Super Pumas to customers.
December’s entry into service of the EC175 represented another key 2014 achievement, with this rotorcraft now operating on oil and gas installations in the North Sea. Deliveries and new contracts will continue in 2015, backed by the industrial ramp-up and a dedicated plan to ensure this helicopter’s maturity.
The first digital avionics suite to be fully designed and integrated by a rotorcraft manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters’ new Helionix made its debut last year on both the EC175 and EC145 T2, further contributing to the company’s unique in-house know-how. Operators will benefit from the increased safety Helionix provides through reduced pilot workload, enhanced situational awareness, improved flight envelope protection and system redundancy.
On the commercial side in 2014, Airbus Helicopters stabilized its civil and parapublic market position with a 44 percent share in terms of aircraft delivered. Included in last year’s totals were strong deliveries of EC225s, accompanying this helicopter type’s return to service and the regain in customer confidence – with some oil and gas operators logging 90 percent fleet availability.
For military rotorcraft, Airbus Helicopters retained its market presence during 2014 with an 11 percent share in terms of units delivered. Milestones included completion of the Tiger attack helicopter program’s main development contract, enabling deliveries of the first Block 2 Tiger HAD fire support and destruction version to France and two of the HAD/E variant to Spain. The company received U.S. Army orders for 51 UH-72A Lakota, the Light Utility Helicopters version of the EC145.
Advances were made as well in Airbus Helicopters’ support and services, underscored by indicators of increasing fleet availability for customers and operators – backed by 98 percent of planned spare parts orders delivered on time. The company also established an extended warranty offer to include 3 years or 2,000 flight hours, with the first year of labor included. Taking effect on January 1, this initiative is aligned with Airbus Helicopters’ company-wide transformation and demonstrates the efforts placed on customer satisfaction.
Topping Airbus Helicopters’ 2014 priorities was the continued focus on safety, encompassing industry-leading efforts to propose and promote changes to enhance airworthiness, increase survivability and promote standardization of operator fleet safety-related capabilities. As part of this, the company released the rotorcraft industry’s first Flight Crew Operations Manual (FCOM), which outlines best practices and recommendations for EC225s used in oil and gas missions. Another 2014 initiative was the broader incorporation of Vision 1000 cockpit recorders across the Airbus Helicopters product line – to be included on all of its new aircraft deliveries in 2015.
“2015 will mark the second step in our company’s transformation, during which we will amplify our actions in executing faster and better, becoming more competitive, making our customers’ missions ours in every way, embracing change as a permanent asset, and performing with a purpose,” Faury concluded. “In the coming year, our goal is to provide what matters to our customers – when it matters the most.”
2014 at a glance:
The 402 net bookings in 2014 by product range:
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