Eurocopter Sells Five AS350 B3 Helicopters in India

BANGALORE, India — The acquisition of five AS350 B3 helicopters by three Indian customers was announced by Eurocopter and its Eurocopter India subsidiary at the Aero India 2011 exhibition in Bangalore.

Three of the rotary-wing aircraft were ordered by Global Vectra, whose fleet will grow to seven AS350 B3s; while Summit Aviation and SS Aviation each purchased one. All five are scheduled to be delivered during 2011.

“The AS350 B3 has become the single-engine helicopter of choice for major Indian operators, who are increasingly adopting it for their fleets,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling. “Seeing this trend, we are confident the AS350 B3 will be instrumental in developing such segments as heli-tourism, passenger transportation, rescue, aerial work and law enforcement throughout the country.”

With unrivalled performance at extremely high altitudes, the AS350 B3 is a worldwide reference – especially for evolving market opportunities. The helicopter can carry more passengers in hot and high conditions than any other rotary-wing aircraft in its class. For India, it is the ideal multipurpose single-engine helicopter, offering the lowest operating costs and highest safety standards.

The AS350 B3 has experienced major success in heli-skiing applications at such locations as the Alps in Europe, North America’s Rocky Mountains and Alaska, and the Andes in South America – with operations now extended to the Himalayas in India.

“Heli-skiing is a sport that requires high level of aircraft safety, robustness and capability to function immaculately in extremely high altitude conditions,” explained Neeraj Bhatia, the Managing Director of Summit Aviation. “The AS350 B3 was our choice for such duties at Gulmarg, Kashmir, where it is taking on the most challenging tasks with ease, and demonstrating incredible performance.”

The AS350 B3 also has redefined pilgrim tourism in India, and is flying tourists to places like Vaishno Devi, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Amarnath. It is successfully used by numerous operators for corporate transportation, and has become the backbone of India’s geophysical surveys. Five AS350 B3s are in operation to support the country’s geophysical survey activity, with four of them flown by Global Vectra – the first operator using this helicopter type in India for such missions.

Most recently, Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited equipped an AS350 B3 with cameras and relay equipment for TV broadcasts during the recent Commonwealth Games, an Indian first.

The SS Aviation contract announced today at Aero India 2011 makes this operator a new Eurocopter customer, with the AS350 B3 becoming the first helicopter in its fleet. “There is an increasing demand in the rural areas of Karnataka for air transport services, so the purchase of a helicopter makes sense to cater to this growing demand,” stated H. I. Mahesh, the CEO of SS Aviation.

Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd.

On October 20, 2010, Eurocopter inaugurated its new Indian subsidiary, which has been given the goals of expanding the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer’s commercial presence in this highly-promising marketplace, reinforcing its support and services network throughout the country, and further developing the company’s four-decade relationship with Indian industry.

Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. is the 25th subsidiary established worldwide by Eurocopter and the 10th in Asia. It is the first and only foreign helicopter manufacturer in the world to have created a fully-fledged subsidiary in India. The new subsidiary is headquartered in New Delhi and has an existing facility in Bangalore for the management of industrial activity. An engineering centre will be created in Bangalore next year to support the company’s design, development and industrial activities, along with the opening of a new commercial office in Mumbai.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter group employs approximately 15,600 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros; orders for 346 new helicopters; and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.

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