Airbus Helicopters is celebrating 60 years in Japan, with more than 370 of the company’s helicopters flying in the country today. Its Japanese presence began in 1960 when predecessor company Sud Aviation entered into a distribution agreement with Nozaki & Co. and delivered an Alouette II in Japan the following year.
Today, the European manufacturer claims a 53 percent market share of the Japanese civil and parapublic market, serving more than 100 operators there. In 2019, the company delivered 10 new helicopters and secured more than 40 percent of the new bookings available in Japan. Last month, Airbus signed a deal to deliver one new H225 and four H135 helicopters to Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA), taking its Airbus fleet to 30.
The Airbus facility in Kobe acts as the regional hub for engineering, blade repair, and H135 helicopter training with a full flight simulator. Airbus Helicopters employs 330 in Tokyo and Kobe, offering services including aircraft completion, maintenance, engineering, technical support, spares and training. Earlier this year, Airbus opened a new hangar in Kobe that increased overall capacity by 60 percent, sufficient to handle 40 medium twins simultaneously and 80 helicopters per year for MRO projects.