The French government is considering helping Airbus Helicopters, which has been hit hard by order cancellations. Two ministries have begun to study the recovery of aircraft affected by these cancellations.
Helping Airbus Helicopters
The State, a minority but real Airbus shareholder, is considering helping one of the group's subsidiaries, Airbus Helicopters, which has been hit hard by order cancellations. At least two ministries, the Armed Forces and the Interior, have begun to study the takeover of aircraft affected by order cancellations, or "white tails". Three players in particular are interested in this situation of available helicopters, even though it is well known that operations need more helicopters than are available: the Air Force (which welcomed Florence Parly to Cazaux on 20 April, where the 1/67 Pyrenees helicopter squadron is based), the Gendarmerie and the Civil Security.
Appetence for H225
All three have an appetite for manoeuvring helicopters. The Air Force has to rent, or buy between 12 and 20 of them, probably H225s. The lowest number represents the full replacement of Pumas on their current pads. Twenty helicopters would meet all operational requirements. In particular, to stop renting a machine to Icarus. The H225s could also be of interest to the gendarmes and civil security. The former could then avoid having to resort to the Armed Forces for the transport of special units of the Ministry of the Interior. The Civil Security could use it for crisis situations requiring a large hold: floods, but also and above all, fires. The water bomber helicopter had been pushed by Airbus Helicopters a dozen years ago, but in any case not in France.
EC145 and Ecureuil B3 also
Civil Security and the Gendarmerie also need light helicopters. EC145s to complete their fleets (and their losses), but also Ecureuil B3s, which the Gendarmerie likes, are the most profitable helicopters on the market in its range. The Gendarmerie would thus go from a rather unprecedented situation, where, at the end of the year, it was massively cut back on flying hours, with even less prospect of buying aircraft, to an abundance of deliveries of new helicopters! The possibility of equipping it with H160s is also a real possibility, the Member of Parliament in charge of the Gendarmerie on the National Defence Commission has already mentioned this possibility.
Dassault Aviation is also experiencing difficulties in selling its Falcon aircraft: will the government take advantage of this to modernize its fleet, especially the Falcon 900s, delivered in the early 1980s?