Eurocopter president Jean-Francois Bigay is forecasting cancellations and order delays as a result of the continuing economic crisis in Asia. Orders for 15 civil helicopters from South Korea and Thailand have already been put on ice.

The warning came as the Franco-German company announced that, in 1997, it achieved its best order figures since Aerospatiale and Daimler-Benz Aerospace merged their helicopter activities in 1992.

While the company is wary of the possible knock-on effects of the Asian downturn, it secured something of a cushion by adding 303 machines to its orderbook in 1997. Around 40% of sales were for the new EC120 light single and EC135 twin. Together with the sale of 55 used helicopters, orders totalled Fr13.6 billion ($2.2 billion) in 1997.

Eurocopter's turnover was up to Fr10.1billion and, although the exact figures have yet to be released, the company says that it has returned to profit.

Source: Flight International