Airbus Helicopters delivered 409 rotorcraft and logged gross orders for 350 helicopters (net: 335) in 2017, with a strong commercial performance on the heavy and super-medium segments. The company booked 54 orders for helicopters of the Super Puma family and 19 orders for the super-medium H175, confirming those types as best-sellers on their respective market segments. Bookings also included 168 orders for light-single engine helicopters and 105 orders for the H135/H145 light-twins. At the end of 2017, the overall backlog stood at 692 helicopters.
“We are now closing the first chapter of the company-wide transformation launched in 2014, which has allowed us to become stronger and leaner in a challenging market environment. Our 2017 results are a testimony to the great work done by our teams to transform our industrial operations, improve our products & services, while delivering an ambitious innovation roadmap to prepare the future of vertical flight”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters Chief Executive Officer. “As we launch a second wave of company transformation this year, our main focus will be to speed up these efforts through increased digitalisation of our products, services and operations – for the benefit of our customers and the safety of our fleet”.
Last year saw major progress being made on new products, including the H160 – first of the “H Generation” – with three prototypes now in flight-testing ahead of certification in 2019. A full-scale firing campaign of the HForce weapon system was also carried out successfully on the H145M, which will benefit from improved and modular military capabilities by the end of 2018. The year was also marked by the launch of ACH (Airbus Corporate Helicopters) through which the company is able to offer high quality design and specifications across its range of helicopters to private and business customers.
In 2017, Airbus Helicopters completed the implementation of its revamped industrial model with the inauguration of its blade production facility in Paris-Le Bourget, which will be fully part of the new site specialisation strategy integrating the Marignane, Donauwörth and Albacete plants. On the international stage, the company delivered the 400th UH-72 Lakota to the US Army and broke ground on its first helicopter final assembly line in China, with initial deliveries expected in 2019.