A Chinese consortium has ordered 100 Airbus Helicopters H135s, following the signing of a letter of intent in October last year. The deal will launch a H135 final assembly line in the country.
The group, which is made up of China Aviation Supplies Holding Co., Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Co. and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co., is China's first industrial partnership to launch a H135 assembly line. It will be located in the country's Qingdao, Shandong province. Operations are expected to begin in 2018 and continue for the next 10 years.
Although China's helicopter civil fleet growth has slowed due to factors including the economy and the oil and gas industry downturn, its numbers are still growing. According to a report from Asian Sky Group, more than 22% of the fleet in Greater China come from Airbus. The H135 has been configured in the region for various parapublic missions, tourism and charter flights.
According to an Airbus press release, China's development in the offshore wind industry has opened a new market for helicopter operations. The manufacturer expects a demand of 600 light twin-engine helicopters in China within the next 20 years.
Photo courtesy of Airbus Helicopters