None of the world’s major helicopter manufacturers stands to lose more than Eurocopter should the U.S. economy falter. The company is making large capital investments throughout the country to sustain its huge production, support, warehouse and training operations in Texas, Ohio and elsewhere. The last thing it wants is a recession wiping away sales already in its order book.
Eurocopter (Stand C220) expects the long-anticipated growth in demand for civil helicopters in the Middle East to materialize now and it believes the market’s emergence will have been worth the wait. According to regional marketing manager Xavier Hay, the helomaker expects to sell at least 20 civil rotorcraft per year in this part of the world.
American Eurocopter has received an FAA aircraft production certificate to manufacture its U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter and EC 145 commercial variant at the company’s plant in Columbus, Miss.
The first helicopter produced under the certificate was delivered to the Army on August 27.
American Eurocopter has received an FAA aircraft production certificate to manufacture its U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter and EC 145 commercial variant at the company’s plant in Columbus, Miss. The first helicopter produced under the certificate was delivered to the Army on August 27.
Since the dramatic cancellation of the stealthy Comanche attack helicopter in 2004, U.S. Army aviation has used the released funds to embark on a major rejuvenation by modernizing and augmenting the existing AH-64, UH-60 and CH-47 fleets, as well as procuring two new types.
Under pressure from its competitors, Eurocopter–still the number-one manufacturer in the civil helicopter market–is working hard to cope with a rapid production ramp-up of its own helicopters at a time when rivals are introducing a dizzying array of new models.
MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton said yesterday that the company plans to deliver 48 helicopters this year even as it continues to struggle with supply-chain issues and clear away the debris left by decades of mismanagement. “It’s not a one-year fix. It’s not a two-year fix. This is a five-year turnaround,” she said of the company.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said the company is basking “in an exploding market with a booming turnover,” but he sounded a cautious tone with respect to the challenge of delivering its helicopters on time.
Eurocopter, already the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, shows no signs that its meteoric sales pace will let up anytime soon.
Last year the company delivered 381 new helicopters worth more than $5 billion and booked orders for 615 helicopters with a combined value of $6.45 billion. Those figures represent a substantial increase from Eurocopter’s 2005 order book, valued at $4.64 billion.