Airbus Helicopters has broken ground on a final assembly line in Qingdao, China that will assemble H135 light twin-engine helicopters.
Construction of the facility will be finished in 2018, says Airbus Helicopters in a statement.
The facility will operate as a joint venture between Airbus Helicopters, which holds 51%, and Qingdqo United General Aviation Company, which is owned by a joint venture of two Chinese general aviation firms.
The ground breaking follows a framework agreement signed in June 2016. It calls for 100 H135s to be produced at the factory over the next ten years, with the first aircraft roll-out in mid-2019.
Annual capacity of the final assembly line is 18 H135s.
“This ground breaking is a remarkable milestone for Airbus Helicopters’ global footprint and demonstrates our commitment to further enhancing our industrial cooperation with China’s rapidly growing aviation industry,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We are confident that this project will achieve a win-win solution to fulfill the requirements of local customers while supporting the development of crucial helicopter services for the benefit of Chinese citizens.”
Airbus Helicopters adds that in 2016 China became its largest civil market in terms of bookings. It foresees demand for 600 light twin-engine helicopters over the next 20 years