Airbus Breaks Ground On H135 Assembly Line in China
Airbus Helicopters has broken ground on its H135 final assembly line in Qingdao, Shangdong Province, China. Construction is expected to be completed by 2018 and the first helicopter is expected off the line there by mid-2019. The assembly line is part of the $790 million 2016 framework agreement that calls for the assembly of 100 H135s in China over the next 10 years.
The agreement is the first of its kind for Airbus Helicopters. “This groundbreaking is a remarkable milestone for Airbus Helicopters’ global footprint. It demonstrates our commitment to further enhancing our industrial cooperation with China’s rapidly growing aviation industry,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.
The new facility, located in Jimo Provincial Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, will be jointly operated by Airbus Helicopters and Qingdao United General Aviation Company, a joint venture between China Aviation Supplies Holding Company and Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company.
Following the joint venture agreement signed in April of this year, Airbus Helicopters holds a majority share of 51 percent. For the first time in 2016, China became Airbus Helicopters’ largest civil market in terms of annual bookings. Chinese demand for light-twin helicopters is forecast at 600 units over the next two decades.