Eurocopter has launched a three-pronged Shape programme to cut costs, reduce inventories, redeploy workers and boost technology to maintain competitiveness in what is says is a "new economic context".

Concerns are focused on the "declining" civil market where "continuing cancellations are impacting future light helicopter deliveries", says the company.

Along with coming up with €200 million ($300 million) savings "in the short term" as well as speeding up and simplifying the construction process, Eurocopter says it has also increased its research and development contribution by an additional 25% over 2008, which was up 40% from the previous year.

According to airframer's first-half 2009 earnings report, it spent €78 million for research and development in the period, representing 4.1% of its €1.9 billion in revenues. Eurocopter's orderbook in the first half has declined 12% to 1,420 helicopters from 1,609 in the first half of 2008.

Due to a favourable mix in the delivery sequence however, the company's first-half revenues were up 6% compared with a year ago.

Source: Flight International