Eurocopter revealed a mockup of the executive version of its EC175 medium-twin helicopter today at EBACE and is also offering an even more luxurious VIP version. Prices for the new variants are around €17 million ($22 million) and vary with options. The VIP version is some €500,000 ($650,000) more expensive than the executive option.
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense (MoD) as a cost-cutting measure will not buy four production models of the RQ-4E Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system as planned. The MoD’s decision to stop the program after acquiring one demonstrator aircraft was disclosed earlier this week. During a parliamentary debate, Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said of the decision: “We prefer to pull the plug.
In the first quarter of 2013, revenue at Eurocopter fell by 13 percent, to €1.04 billion ($1.35 billion), with deliveries of 58 helicopters during the three-month period. Parent company EADS attributed the downward performance to the ongoing “technical problems with the Super Puma/EC225 fleet.” Affected have been both deliveries and the service revenue generated by helicopter operations. In the first three months, Eurocopter booked net orders for 51 helicopters, the company said.
Eurocopter performed a demonstration flight today with an “optionally piloted vehicle” (OPV) version of the EC145 light twin helicopter, aiming eventually at unmanned operations such as automated surveillance and cargo with any of its models. Secret flight-testing began early this month at an air force base in Istres, France.
An $8 billion order commitment signed by China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) on Thursday marked a thawing of China’s freeze on a purchase of Airbus widebodies imposed in protest of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm that was co-founded in August 2010 by airplane fractional program pioneer Richard Santulli, has quickly grown to mammoth size. The Dublin, Ireland-based company said its fleet, which ranges from light-twin to heavy helicopters, now includes more than 90 aircraft from AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky worth more than $1.3 billion.
The number of Eurocopters based in China for both civil and parapublic operators has now reached the 100-aircraft mark. According to Eurocopter, the milestone helicopter–an EC120 light single–was recently delivered to an investor group that will provide “tailored solutions to support the development of helicopter flying clubs.” The company sold 16 turbine helicopters to Chinese commercial and parapublic operators last year, a 54-percent year-over-year increase. It claims a 40-percent share of the market for helicopters in China.
The global rivalry between Airbus and Boeing is now firmly rooted on American soil. On April 9, Airbus broke ground on a new A320-series assembly plant in Mobile, Ala., its first U.S.-based production facility. Boeing announced a second-phase expansion of its 787 production facility two states away in South Carolina the next day.
Two German police-operated helicopters returning from a training mission collided near the ground in Berlin while landing on March 21. Both were Eurocopter models, one an AS332L1 Super Puma and the other an EC155B1. The pilot of the Super Puma lost ground reference in blowing snow and struck the smaller helicopter, killing the pilot of the EC155. Seven people on the ground were also injured–four seriously–mostly by flying debris. The two helicopters were participating in a police exercise being held near Berlin’s downtown Olympic Stadium.
Airbus Corporate Jets (Chalet 290), the VIP aircraft sales division of Airbus, sees big opportunities for executive transport in the China market and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Here at ABACE 2013 it is highlighting the big-cabin solutions it offers with its family of VIP airliners.