Eurocopter’s EC 145 light twin-engine helicopter has received a makeover in the form of the Stylence (a play on “style” and “silence”) interior upgrade. The refreshed model features sleek leather seating.
The Stylence cabin, first introduced in 2003 in the EC 130 and later brought to the EC 120 and AS 350 B2/B3 and AS 355 NP, represents a merger of “ergonomics and advanced technology,” according to Christine Fraud, manager of executive and VIP transport and VIP applications at Eurocopter. The interior features quick-change seating for five to eight passengers, carbon-fiber accents and in-flight office tools including Iridium satellite phones. The Stylence upgrade adds about $270,000 to the base helicopter’s $7.5 million price tag.
Business aviation now makes up 20 percent of Eurocopter’s total sales, accounting for the sale of 150 helicopters in 2008. Introduction of the EC 145 Stylence cabin, said vice president of market development Dominique Orbec, “shows our confidence in business aviation and its future, despite the current economic downturn.” He added that Eurocopter has experienced some order cancellations in the last six months, but characterized the number as “minimal.”
Since the made-over model’s recent introduction, Eurocopter has sold five EC 145 Stylence helicopters for service in Brazil, France, Germany, India and Luxembourg. Eurocopter also offers an ultra-luxurious interior for the EC 135 designed by French fashion house Hermès that sells for around $8.1 million. Orbec said about five Hermès models have been sold so far, adding that the total anticipated market for the haute helicopter will be “around a dozen or maybe two dozen over the next 10 years; it is a very exclusive model.” The first Hermès EC 135 was delivered to its buyer in early May.