A Chinese consortium made up of China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company (Qingdao United) and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd (COHC) has confirmed its order for 100 Airbus Helicopters H135 light-twin helicopters.
The consortium will form an industrial partnership to launch a H135 final assembly line (FAL) in Qingdao, Shandong province. The FAL is expected to start operations by 2018, to assemble 100 H135s over the next 10 years.
The announcement follows a Letter of Intent (LOI) signed in October 2015 in which the companies outlined plans to develop an ecosystem including the country’s first Airbus Helicopters FAL, a sales office for locally-assembled H135s to be distributed domestically, as well as maintenance, repair, overhaul and training capabilities to support the Chinese H135 fleet.
The €700m contract was signed at the Great Hall of People, in the presence of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The European firm, which claims a 40% market share in China, believes that further relaxation of low-altitude airspace regulations, upward growth in the civil and parapublic services segments as well as rapid development of offshore wind power generation will boost Chinese demand for the H135.
This is the second major Chinese order for Airbus Helicopters in recent months. In September 2015, Chinese lessor CM International Financial Leasing Corp., Ltd. (CMIFL) said it would acquire 100 H125/H130 helicopters over a five-year period.