Photo courtesy of Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters plans to more than double its footprint at the Kobe Airport in Japan to include a maintenance, repair and overhaul complex in an effort to solidify its share of that country’s growing rotorcraft market.
The company has plans to add the MRO complex next to an existing facility with construction to begin in June 2019. It should be operational by November.
The existing facility can accommodate up to 25 medium-sized helicopters at once and houses a regional engineering hub and the country’s first and only helicopter full motion full-flight simulator, which has trained over 500 pilots and engineers in Japan and across the region.
Expanding the campus will give Airbus the largest footprint of any aviation business at the Kobe Airport, occupying a total space of 19,685 square meters. Its overall capacity will increase by 60 percent to handle about 40 medium-sized helicopters at one time. The new building will feature a state-of-the-art hangar, an administration office, and a purpose-built warehouse.
“Japan is an important market for Airbus Helicopters. This additional facility is part of our growth plan in the country and demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our support for our customers’ fleets while responding to their increasing demand for aftersale support services,” said Olivier Tillier, managing director of Airbus Helicopters Japan. “We have been building up our capabilities in Kobe over the years and believe the site offers a lot of growth potential. With a larger capacity, we will be able to offer our complete suite of support and services to our customers, spanning after-sales customer support, MRO, engineering, technical support, simulator training and warehousing.”
Since the delivery of the first Alouette II helicopter to Mitsuya Air Service in 1961, Airbus Helicopters Japan has delivered more than 440 helicopters to operators and customers in the country for various missions across market segments.
The company currently leads the Japanese civil and parapublic market with a 54 percent market share. Plans are for the company to strengthen its position there in anticipation of Japan’s rotorcraft fleet growing 2 percent annually over the next two decades. It has already secured half of the country’s new bookings for 2018.