Commercial

China Receives First of 100 Airbus H135s

By Frank Wolfe | September 28, 2018
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Airbus Helicopters delivered the first of 100 H135s for China in Qingdao

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first of 100 H135s to China under an agreement signed in 2016, the company said Sept. 28.

Airbus delivered the first H135 to China for HEMS missions in Qingdao and the surrounding area. The aircraft features Airbus’ latest generation Helionix avionics suite, which increases safety and decreases pilot workload, the company said.

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Fed by large-scale development projects and HEMS, among other needs, the helicopter industry in China is growing, and China is trying to lure various helicopter original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to the country. For its part, Airbus plans to open an assembly plant early next year in the Jimo Provincial Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone to build at least 18 H135s annually for medical evacuation, law enforcement and offshore oil-and-gas production.

Last April, China launched its Ministry of Emergency Management, a state-operated organization responsible for the implementation of rescue and emergency care. The ministry has said it plans to purchase up to 300 new mostly light and medium helicopters.

The Chinese market for civil helicopters has blossomed in recent years. Last year, it became the world’s largest in terms of both value and volume. Since 2010, the market has increased almost four times from 195 to 900 units in 2017 — and likely will continue that climb this year.

Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, said in a statement that the delivery of the first H135 to China "represents the first of many milestones supporting our commitment to serve the Chinese market with H-135s made in Qingdao."

Airbus Helicopters said that about 280 company helicopters serving 75 customers are flying in China and that Airbus Helicopters holds the leading position in the Chinese civil and parapublic helicopter market. The uses of the H135s in China vary and include EMS, search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting and tourism.

While Airbus plans to build the first five H135s for China in Germany while training Chinese final assembly line workers, the remaining 95 H135s are to be built at the Airbus plant in Qingdao.

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