Eurocopter claims 50-percent helo market share in Asia

 - February 15, 2012, 6:30 PM
Norbert Ducrot, Eurocopter senior vice president for sales and customer relations in Asia Pacific. Photo by Thierry Dubois.

The Southern Vietnam Helicopter Corp. (VNH South) has ordered its fourth EC225 aircraft from Eurocopter Southeast Asia. The large-cabin helicopter will be used to expand the operator’s activities in support of the oil-and-gas industry.

VNH South (formerly known as Southern Service Flight Co.) acquired four of the 10- to 11-metric-ton-class EC225 in four years. “We signed for an EC225 in August last year, and there was never any doubt that the option for another would be exercised,” said Capt. Vi Cong Dung, director of the company. “We have been using Super Puma helicopters for a long time and have full confidence in its capability and performance to carry out the demanding offshore missions required of them.”

With the arrival of the fourth EC225, VNH South will have a total of 10 aircraft from Eurocopter. In addition to the three other EC225s, it flies four AS332-L2 Super Pumas and a pair of EC155 Dauphins.

Eurocopter (Booth J23) is seeing rapidly growing helicopter sales here in Asia. Norbert Ducrot, Eurocopter’s senior vice president for sales and customer relations in Asia Pacific, told AIN that the market has been experiencing roughly 20-percent growth rates for six or seven years. It is now more than $1.3 billion.

This trend is going to continue until around 2025, according to Eurocopter predictions. Before that, in 2017, it anticipates that Asia Pacific will be the largest market in the world. The EADS subsidiary is claiming a 50-percent market share in the region. Ducrot noted some countries where his firm’s market share is particularly strong: Malaysia (82 percent), Japan (55 percent) and China (40 percent.) These numbers were calculated on the 2005-2010 period, in units.

Factors driving increased sales include a dynamic offshore oil-and-gas market, military demand and more of the region’s airspace opening to general aviation. In China hopes are relying on long-awaited relaxed rules in the low-altitude airspace, and a new regulation to this effect is now in a test phase in five areas of the country. Today, there are only 150 civil helicopters flying in China, Ducrot pointed out.

Eurocopter has no fewer than 10 Asian subsidiaries, five of which have opened over the last five years. By the end of next year, five Eurocopter flight simulators will be available for training in the region–in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.