A Chinese consortium today finalized a $790 million, 10-year contract for 100 Airbus H135 light twins to be assembled in Qingdao, Shandong Province beginning in 2018. The consortium is composed of China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company (Qingdao United) and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd (COHC). A letter of intent for the deal was announced last year.
The agreement was signed today in Beijing’s Great Hall of People, in the presence of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The H135 has gained popularity in China in recent years, performing various parapublic, corporate and tourism missions. Worldwide, nearly 1,200 H135s are in service and the fleet has logged more than three million flight hours.
“With the further opening up of the Chinese skies and the increasing growth in the civil and parapublic segments, China is gearing up to be the biggest market for helicopters in years to come,” said Norbert Ducrot, head of Airbus Helicopters China and North Asia region. The company forecasts a demand for sales of up to 600 light-twin helicopters in China over the next 20 years.