Russian Helicopters has a big presence at this year’s Airshow China, with two helicopter types making their debuts in the flying display and in the static park.

Both the Mil Mi-171A2 and the Kazan Ansat are this year’s event, prior to embarking on a customer tour of Southeast Asia, taking in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

“China is one of the key operators of helicopters not only in Asia, but worldwide,” says Andrey Boginsky, director general of Russian Helicopters

“Today, there are more than 400 Russian[-built] helicopters registered in the country, but this market is continuing to expand rapidly, it needs modern civilian aircraft, and we are prepared to offer these.”

He says there is a requirement for 6,000 civilian helicopters across the Asia-Pacific. While Russian-built helicopters account for 20% of the region's military rotorcraft, the comparative figure for civil models is much lower.

“We plan a certain number of soft orders as a result of this tour,” says Boginsky.

Russian Helicopters is aiming to gain Chinese certification for both types: approval for the light-twin Ansat is imminent, with that for the Mi-171A2 following in mid-2019.

Boginsky believes the low operating costs of the Ansat - quoted as $900/h - will prove attractive to the region's operators.