Airbus wins order for 100 helicopters in China
The helicopter sale is worth 700 million euros ($788 mln) at catalog prices, but the value of the deal rises to 1 billion euros when support and initial industrial investment are included, an Airbus Helicopters spokesman said.
The factory will be located in the Sino-German Ecopark in the coastal city of Qingdao, and is expected to start operations in 2018 with a capacity of 36 units a year, the company said.
The deal, first outlined last October, was signed during a visit to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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 helicopters that is likely to include fleets of air ambulances.
The light twin-engined H135 is already used in China for medical services and police surveillance.
Airbus Helicopters sees demand for 3,000-5,000 helicopters in China over the next 20 years. ■