Eurocopter has inked a memorandum of understanding with China's Tianjin Free Trade Zone to explore the creation of a completion and customisation centre for the firm's AS350 Ecureuil light helicopter.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of a visit by German chancellor Angela Merkel to China's Airbus A320 factory in Tianjin, where the proposed completion centre will be located, Eurocopter said in a statement.

Airbus and Eurocopter are sister companies within the EADS Group.

The centre would complete and customise Ecureuil helicopters for the Chinese market, but the helicopters would be designed to allow future addition of other types.

"The new Chinese industrial centre will mark an important step for Eurocopter's global strategy of being in close proximity to customers within key markets, while also offering tailored, flexible solutions adapted to local market requirements," Eurocopter's chief executive Lutz Bertling said in a statement.

Source: Flight International