ATLANTA, Georgia — The growing demand for Airbus Helicopters’ H160 model continues in 2023. North American customers have already placed orders for more than 12 H160 helicopters. The model is also gaining interest in private and business aviation, according to the announcement by Airbus Helicopters.
The company also shared that plans have been made to add the first H160 full flight simulator in North America. The simulator, which will be located in Texas, will serve as a training tool for pilots as soon as 2025. This is the result of efforts by Helisim—a joint venture between Airbus Helicopters and Thales—which installed the first H160 full flight simulator in France in 2020.
This week, Airbus Helicopters also delivered the first ACH160 to The Helicopter Company (THC) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. THC has placed orders for six of the aircraft.
Additionally, Airbus Helicopters has partnered with Genesys Aerosystems to develop an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) capability for the H125. The capability, which is expected to be available in the second half of 2024, will include an upgraded cockpit, redundant hydraulic and electrical systems, and a new autopilot, according to the announcement.
Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, remarked during a press conference this week that flight hours recorded in 2022 were slightly higher than 2019. He sees positive momentum in the helicopter market for both the civil and military sectors.
According to Even, the uncertainty of the environment—including the situation in Ukraine, inflation, and supply chain issues—”illustrates how important it is not only to manage growth and implement action to be able to grow but also to be resilient and robust in this context.”
Airbus Helicopters expects the civil market to continue growing by 20 to 25% over the next five years. The company claimed 54% of the market share in the civil market last year. Meanwhile, the military market has seen strong performance in North America and Western Europe, which are both achieving pre-pandemic levels.
“2023 will be a critical year to meet the very strong market demand for the H160 helicopter,” Even commented. “The H175 illustrates the positive momentum we see in the oil and gas market.”
Bruno Even listed the four strategic priorities for Airbus Helicopters as they look to the future: customer loyalty, innovation, sustainability, and defense/security.
Romain Trapp, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Inc., also spoke at the press conference taking place during the HAI Heli-Expo 2023 event this week. “We saw our customers flying much more in 2022 compared to 2019,” he noted, adding that flying hours had increased by 10%.
“Historically, we book two thirds of our helicopters on the single engine side and one third on the twin,” said Trapp. “Last year, it was almost 50/50. We saw a clear shift in the market. We reached $1.1B in revenue, with growth of 10% compared to 2021.” He also remarked that a third of their 87 bookings in 2022 came from new customers.
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