Photo courtesy of Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters is on its way to having a final assembly line in China. The company said it would be “the first of its kind not only for Airbus Helicopters, but also for the Western helicopter industry in China.”
The final assembly line will be located in Qingdao, Shandon Province in eastern China. The company has already broken ground, and construction is expected to be completed by next year.
“This ground breaking is a remarkable milestone for Airbus Helicopters’ global footprint and demonstrates our commitment to further enhancing our industrial cooperation with China’s rapidly growing aviation industry,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We are confident that this project will achieve a win-win solution to fulfil the requirements of local customers while supporting the development of crucial helicopter services for the benefit of Chinese citizens.”
Signed in June 2016, a framework agreement covers the assembly of 100 H135s over the next decade. It is planned that the first aircraft will roll out of the Qingdao facility in mid-2019. The assembly line would have a total annual capacity of 18 H135s, which could be extended in the future.
According to Airbus, the H135 is one of the most popular light twin-engine helicopters in China. It operates in emergency medical, search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting and tourism roles. Last year, the company said China became its largest civil market, in terms of annual bookings. The fast-developing public service and offshore wind industries are encouraging to Airbus, and it expects potential demand of 600 light twin-engine rotorcraft over the next 20 years.