Airbus Helicopters is to dramatically slash output on its H225 over the next two years as it tries to deal with lower demand from the oil and gas market.
Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters chief executive, says that output of the 11t-class rotorcraft, in both its civil and military guises, will fall to 20-25 units in 2016 and 2017, down from 48 in 2014 and 42 in 2015. This will mostly be "outside the oil and gas industry", he says.
Backlog now stands at around 60-70 helicopters, Faury told a Heli-Expo press conference this morning, which is "lower than we used to have" thanks to a book-to-bill ratio in 2015 - where it took just two orders for the H225 - of less than one.
This was partly driven by a number of large military campaigns, notably Poland, which were not concluded in 2015, he says.
"We were expecting the relay from oil and gas to the military last year, and think this will now be in 2016."
If the H225M succeeds in the three contests in which there are tentative agreements - for a combined 90 helicopters in India, Kuwait and Poland - "then we will have to ramp up again", he says.
Between five to seven of the handovers in 2015 will be made from its Helibras subsidiary, destined for Brazil's armed forces.
However, with Brasilia's economy in crisis and spending slashed, it's contract with the government has "been renegotiated", says Faury "at the request of the customer", slowing the pace of deliveries over the next three years.
Brazil has so far taken delivery of 21 of an eventual 50 helicopters.
Meanwhile, talks continue with Poland's ministry of economic development over Warsaw's planned 50-unit acquisition.
The negotiations are "moving forwards" says Faury, and he "continues to believe" that the contract will be finalised. "It seems there is a positive climate moving forwards," he adds.