China-based Henan New Continental Business Aviation has ordered two Eurocopter helicopters in VIP configuration. An AS350B3e Ecureuil/AStar single will be delivered at year-end and an EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style (the first such light twin to be sold in Asia) in the middle of next year. The operator plans to create a helicopter fleet for business passengers. “While VIP helicopter transportation in China is relatively young, the customers’ needs are maturing rapidly,” chairman Zhou Suiji stated.
In 1996, Eurocopter became the first Western rotorcraft maker to enter the Russian market and it is testament to the sector’s great potential that the company is now facing a more concerted challenge in the country from rivals such as AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopters.
The strong business aviation presence at Malaysia’s LIMA airshow held last month on the island of Langkawi was evidence that the industry’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region extends well beyond China.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm that was co-founded in August 2010 by airplane fractional program pioneer Richard Santulli, has quickly grown to mammoth size. The Dublin, Ireland-based company said its fleet, which ranges from light-twin to heavy helicopters, now includes more than 90 aircraft from AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky worth more than $1.3 billion.
India’s Ghodawat Industries placed an order for a Eurocopter EC135 helicopter at the Aero India show in Bangalore this week. The aircraft will be configured for four passengers and is due for delivery in May, when it will replace the customer’s existing EC120 model.
AgustaWestland delivered its 500th AW139 this summer to Weststar Aviation Services of Malaysia, a year after delivering its 400th AW139. Weststar is the largest operator of AW139s in Asia, with 13 already in service and three more on order. The company serves the offshore oil and gas industry.