Russian manufacturer Rostvertol is establishing a joint venture with Lectern Aviation Supplies in Hong Kong to promote its Mi-26T heavy-lifter in the People’s Republic of China.
Western OEMs so far have not targeted the Chinese heavy-lift helicopter market sector. Rostvertol says it has already made several presentations in China and representatives have also visited its plant in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
According to The Wall Street Journal, by 2020 the aviation market in China will include about 10,000 helicopters, 3 to 5 percent of which could be heavy-lift machines.
Rostvertol has signed a three-year contract with state-owned Flying Dragon Aviation, based in Harbin, to lease one Mi-26T firefighting variant. Orders for two more helicopters are said to be likely.
The new joint venture will be in place for the opening of the Zhuhai International Air Show, to be held from October 31 to November 5. –Andrew Healey