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Airbus wins order for 100 helicopters in China

Staff writer |
Airbus Helicopters finalized an agreement to build an assembly line in China as part of a deal to sell 100 H135 helicopters to a local consortium.

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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.

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