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Airbus Helicopters expands Chinese presence

By Zhu Wenqian in Qingdao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-04-17 14:11

An Airbus H135 helicopter is seen at the Berlin Air Show 2016, on June 3, 2016. [Photo/IC]

Airbus Helicopters has further expanded its presence in China, with its H135 helicopter final assembly line in Qingdao, Shandong province commencing operations Wednesday.

The first helicopter assembled in Qingdao is expected to roll off the line in the second half of this year.

The line in Qingdao is the first H135 plant outside Europe and China's first foreign manufacturer assembly of its kind.

The H135, a light, twin-engine helicopter, operates primarily in the emergency medical services, search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting and tourism sectors.

The production will start with an annual capacity of 18 helicopters, and could be doubled in the next few years to accommodate growing demand, said the European company, considered the largest helicopter manufacturer worldwide.

Given the rapid growth in the offshore wind industry and emergency medical and public services, over the next 20 years in China, potential demand for light, twin-engine helicopters is expected in to reach 600, Airbus Helicopters said.

"The Chinese market is very important for us and it is going to boom very quickly. We strongly believe in this market. Beginning to manufacture H135s in Qingdao marks the start of a new chapter of Sino-European collaboration," said Marie-Agnes Veve, Airbus Helicopters China general manager.

"This achievement is a testament to our continued commitment to the Chinese helicopter industry and the strong spirit of cooperation that exists between us and our Chinese partners," she said in Qingdao.

She added that a section of open space at the plant has been reserved for potential suppliers, and the plant may develop into an industrial park to meet demand.

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