Airbus to build assembly line in China

13 June 2016

Airbus Helicopters has signed a framework agreement to build a final assembly line in China, as part of a deal to sell 100 H135 helicopters to a Chinese consortium, the company said on Monday.

Airbus Helicopters said in an emailed statement that the factory will be located in Sino-German Ecopark in the coastal city of Qingdao, and is expected to start operations in 2018.

The assembly facilities are designed to have a capacity of 36 units a year.

The deal was signed during a visit to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"With the further opening up of the Chinese skies and the increasing growth in the civil and parapublic segments, China is gearing up to be the biggest market for helicopters in years to come," Norbert Ducrot, head of Airbus Helicopters China and North Asia region, said in the statement.

The 700 million euro ($788.90 million) helicopter deal completes a letter of intent that was signed last year.. The 100 helicopters are expected to be assembled in China over the next 10 years, the company said.

The Chinese consortium is made up of China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company (Qingdao United) and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co Ltd, according to the statement.

Financial daily Les Echos reported the total value of the agreement was worth about 1 billion euros, including investment in the Qingdao factory.

China is opening up its low-level airspace to civilian aircraft, and the global aviation industry is laying the groundwork for a boom beyond private business jets with the purchase of fleets of air ambulance helicopters.


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