Airbus Helicopters maintains lead in PH, expands to passenger transport, tourism

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES — There are currently 70 helicopters supported by Airbus in the Philippines, that alone is enough to sustain a presence in the local market according to an Airbus Helicopters executive.

“Those 70 Airbus Helicopters are enough reason for us to be here in the country,” said Lionel de Maupeou, managing director, Airbus Helicopters Philippines in a media briefing at the hanger of Airbus Helicopters located inside the NAIA compound. “And with 20 years experience in the local market, along with 50 aviation specialists, trained by Airbus and performing as per industry standards, Airbus is committed in continuing its strong presence in the Philippines.

The helicopter manufacturing company started in 1992 as Eurocopter through the merger of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale and Deutsche Aerospace. In 2000, Eurocopter became a subsidiary of EADS (European Aeronautic, Defense and Space Company) and would eventually re-brand itself as Airbus Helicopters under the Airbus Group in 2014.

Currently, Airbus Helicopters has over 23,000 employees serving up to 3,014 operators in 152 countries. Clocking-in 3,089,000 flight hours in 2016 with a total turnover of 6.65 euros (US$7.89-Billion) also in 2016.

Military helicopters captured most of Airbus Helicopter’s market at 57%, while civilian chopper took 43%. In terms of market distribution, Europe, Middle East & Africa bought most of the helicopters from Airbus compared to the The Americas with 25% and Asia Pacific, 26%.

In terms of market shares, Airbus sold 541 civilian helicopters in 2016 capturing a large 47% of the helicopter market, while gaining only 14% in military choppers with 877 sold. Sikorsky, Russian Helicopters, and Boeing lead in the military helicopter segment.

For the first two quarters of 2017, Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft shipments totaled 175 units with a market value of US$824.4-million making them ahead of other manufacturers such as Bell Helicopter, Leonardo Helicopters, and Robinson Helicopter Company according to data provided by GAMA General Aviation Shipment Report 2017.

The most Airbus Helicopters sold were models: H125/H125M (70 units) , H145/H145M (44 units), and the H135/H135M (21 units).

Airbus Helicopters executives demonstrate the H130 converted as an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) helicopter at the Airbus hanger located inside the NAIA compound, August 30, 2017. InterAksyon file photo

In the Philippines, Airbus established its office in 1998 and since then has trained 90 Filipino technicians, engineers, and avionics specialists. As the only helicopter manufacturer with full-fledged support in the country, Airbus Helicopters has become a “major contributor to the Philippines aerospace industry development”, according to Airbus Helicopters media brief.

With 50% share in the local helicopter segment, Airbus Helicopters sees greater opportunities ahead particularly in the passengers transportation and tourism markets.

“We sell 3 to 4 helicopter units a year,” said de Maupeou. “And it would be good for us if we sell more. We expect around 10% growth in the next three years as we maintain our leadership. We are optimistic with the local helicopter market especially in passengers transportation and tourism.”

The H130 is the most popular Airbus helicopter in the country with more than 10 units delivered. The chopper can accommodate up to 7 passengers and fit for charter operations. The model H125, on the other hand, can carry 5 passengers and it’s the most versatile single-engine chopper for transportation, aerial work and law enforcement – a perfect platform for challenging environments. There are now 25 H125 Airbus Helicopters operating in the Philippines.

The Airbus H130 is the best-selling helicopter in the Philippines. Airbus Helicopters handout photo