Record Airbus deliveries in 2012 proved a big factor in boosting the group revenues of parent EADS by 15 percent last year, and a strengthened U.S. dollar improved the return on sales. But at last week’s EADS annual results press conference, the group characterized 2013 as a critical year in terms of ensuring that the costs associated with both the A380 and A350XWB programs do not drag down profitability any more than they already have done.
Eurocopter released financial results for 2012 last month, logging another year of growth despite continuously eroding deliveries. Services, such as maintenance and training, are set to become Eurocopter’s number-one revenue producing activity, surpassing helicopter production. And during the next five years, the European manufacturer is betting on growth in emerging countries.
Eurocopter is currently working on three “X” projects–the X indicating they are more or less secret–to replace the Dauphin and Super Puma and an undetermined model. Meanwhile, the EC175 program has slipped a bit more to the right.
The Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) expects this year’s ABACE to be an active one, potentially bringing the region’s business aviation industry out of the doldrums it has been in since the staging of last year’s event.
Eurocopter managed to boost revenue last year despite sagging deliveries, in part on the strength of its service activities. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer plans to ramp up production this year, with the aim of delivering 15 percent more aircraft than it handed over last year.
In 2012, revenue amounted to €6.3 billion ($8.4 billion), a 15-percent increase over the previous year. “This was the second year in a row with double-digit growth,” said CEO Lutz Bertling at the company’s annual press conference in Paris in late January.
In January, Beijing Capital Helicopter took delivery of its first Eurocopter EC135P2+ in executive livery, and the company is using it for a regular charter operation from the capital to Buddhist spiritual sites.
The charter was especially active during the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, ferrying passengers to the Wutaishan Mountain area, a well known site of Buddhist temples and monasteries about 160 nm from Beijing Badaling Airport. The Buddhist spiritual center is about a seven-hour journey by train from Beijing. The flight by helicopter is as little as an hour-and-a-half.
Contrary to recent speculation in the financial press, EADS has no intention of reviving the merger talks with BAE Systems that were aborted last October. “It’s not on our radar; we’re both moving on,” said Tom Enders, CEO of EADS. “All the stars were aligned last summer, or so we thought. But at least one proved to be missing,” he continued, in a reference to the German government’s opposition to the merger.
In presenting its annual results yesterday, European aerospace consortium EADS shed more light on Eurocopter’s performance last year. As of December 31, the French helicopter manufacturer’s backlog included 1,070 aircraft worth $16.9 billion. While this is steady in units, it reflects a 7-percent decrease in value.
The task of keeping development of the new Airbus A350XWB airliner on track for service entry in the second half of 2014 “remains challenging,” the European airframer’s parent company EADS acknowledged at a press conference today.
India’s Ghodawat Industries placed an order for a Eurocopter EC135 helicopter at the Aero India show in Bangalore this week. The aircraft will be configured for four passengers and is due for delivery in May, when it will replace the customer’s existing EC120 model.