Airbus Begins Building First Helicopter Plant In China

Qingdao, China: Airbus Group’s helicopter manufacturing arm Airbus Helicopters has started construction of its first assembly plant in China.

Located in the eastern port city of Qindao, the company aims for the plant to be completed in 2018. The facility is designed to produce 18 H135 helicopters a year, with the first helicopter scheduled to be delivered in mid-2019.

The plant is the first by a foreign helicopter manufacturer in China, and will be jointly operated by Airbus Helicopters and Qingdao United General Aviation Company. With 48 of 100 helicopters in China bought from Airbus last year, the country became its top market.

With a fleet of only 800 helicopters, the country’s potential for growth is vast, said Vincent Dufour, Airbus Helicopters' China sales director. In comparison, there are 8,000 helicopters in Europe, and 12,000 in the United States. This is because Chinese airspace military controls hamper the market. The company hopes that this will gradually be relaxed as was partially done in the late 1990s for commercial airplane flights.

Airbus Group also has an aircraft assembly plant in the northeastern city of Tianjin, opened in 2008.

APMEN News, June 2017

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