The Civil Aviation Administration of China has approved a gross weight increase for the Bell 429 helicopter, as the US company announced a series of moves to increase its profile in China.

China is the 12th country to approve an increase of the Bell 429's gross weight to 3,400kg (7,500lb), says Bell. This allows the aircraft to carry 500lb more fuel or payload.

Bell says this improves maximum range of the type on a corporate transport mission to 404nm (750km) from 296nm.

In addition, the company announced two moves to bolster its customer service in China.

Bell signed a service agreement with H&P General Aviation Service that designates the Guangzhou-based company as an authorised customer service facility for the Bell 407.

Bell also appointed Shanghai Kingwing General Aviation as an authorised customer service facility for the Bell 429.

In addition, Bell signed an memorandum of understanding with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College that will establish a maintenance training facility for the Bell 206L and 407 helicopters.

"The MoU will focus on training for the Bell 206L and Bell 407 product lines," says Bell. "It includes access to training course materials, electronic training systems and continued support throughout training."

The company also appointed Chris Jaran, a 30-year aviation industry veteran, as its new managing director for China.

Source: Flight International