Airbus Helicopters - the rebranded Eurocopter - believes the launch of its new identity will help to mark a reversal of fortunes as the manufacturer strives to recover from what its chief executive describes as a "very difficult year".
CEO Guillaume Faury, speaking at a media event in Paris, said that 2013 had seen "tragic accidents" involving its products - the crash of an AS332L2 off Shetland and an EC135T2 in Glasgow - and "part of the [EC225] offshore fleet grounded for a period and programmes which experienced delays".
The company saw total orders fall to 422 in 2013, from 469 the year before, in part due to the shrinking global defence market and certification delays to its flagship EC175 civil rotorcraft.
That slippage, says Faury, contributed to potential customers for the 7.5t type playing a "wait and see game" with orders. In all, the manufacturer took just five bookings for the helicopter last year, thought to be from lessor Milestone Aviation. A second order from oil and gas operator Bristow Group is likely to be confirmed shortly following the EC175 gaining EASA certification on 27 January.
Deliveries to launch customers UTAir, Nordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen and Heli-Union will follow in the second half of the year, he says, although declines to give a more precise timeline.
Overall deliveries rose year on year to 497, up on 2012's total of 475. This was largely driven by the performance of its civil division, which increased its share of the global market to 46% up from 44% in 2012. It fared less well in the defence sector, however, with its market share dropping to 11% from 18% the previous year.
Faury says the first half of the year - when the company was still being run by his predecessor - was characterised by "abnormally low orders and deliveries". However an action plan he initiated enabled a second-half recovery to end 2013 "in line with targets".
Meanwhile, development work continues on its X4 programme, which will be a brand-new helicopter in the 5-6t range, conceived as a response to the success of the AgustaWestland AW139 against its AS365 and EC155 platforms.
First flight is still targeted for 2015, with certification to follow in 2017, and "remains a priority" for the company, says Faury. The next iteration of the AS365, the N3e, will also be certificated at the end of 2014, he says. Although the AW139 is "selling better" than the Dauphin, customers are "continuing to invest" in the latter, securin it 17 orders last year.
Airbus Helicopters, he adds, is not just a "new name or brand" but represents a change "that goes to the very core of our DNA".