SHANGHAI, 29 March 2012. During the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) 2012, Eurocopter displayed two of its most popular helicopter models for business aviation: an AS350 B3 Ecureuil on static display and a mock-up of its light twin-engine EC135.
2011 saw an accelerated growth in China’s general aviation segment, where 17 out of the 30 helicopters in Eurocopter’s bookings were purchased for general aviation purposes when traditionally only around five were sold each year, says a spokesperson.
“Business aviation is expected to be one of the key pillars contributing to the growth of the overall general aviation market. We anticipate that China will need about 1,000 helicopters in the next 10 years, of which 10 percent could be business and private helicopters,” said Eurocopter China CEO Bruno Boulnois.
Eurocopter, looking to take “luxury helicopter travel” one step further, is collaborating with Hermès and Mercedes Benz to develop two exclusive designer helicopters in the EC135 and EC145 models, respectively. The EC135 Hermès version (known as L'Hélicoptère par Hermès) seats five passengers in an exquisite Hermès-designed interior, whereas the EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style seats up to eight passengers comfortably in an interior that is akin to Mercedes-Benz’ luxury-class saloons.
“The business and private aviation segment has great potential in China. There is definitely a demand; and we are ready to provide turnkey solutions for our customers, especially the first-time buyers, so that they can start operating their helicopters without hassle and enjoy safe and efficient flights while we take care of everything else,” Boulnois adds.