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Romanian plans on hold for Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters remains locked in an impasse with the Romanian government over a possible order for new rotorcraft which has left the manufacturer's industrial plans in the country on hold.

The airframer had intended to launch production of the H215 heavy-twin at the new facility in Brasov via Airbus Helicopters Industries, a local company it created to run the plant; final assembly activities were due to start last year.

However, the manufacturer says that without an order from Bucharest it is unable to justify launching operations at the site.

"We don't see a need for an additional industrial footprint," said Airbus Helicopter chief executive Bruno Even, speaking in London at a media briefing today.

Even says the site would need "significant volume" in the form of an order from Romania for at least 16 helicopters "to justify the initial investment".

"First we need a commitment, then we will do the investment," he adds. "Otherwise we do not invest for the coming months or years."

Once the plant is up and running, says Even, it would be used to address the global market, not just Romania.

After running into tortuous procurement processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe – notably in Poland – Airbus Helicopters recently secured an order from Hungary for 20 HForce-equipped H145M medium-twins.

Budapest is likely to have an "additional requirement" for more rotorcraft, says Even, but at this stage it is uncertain what size category will be required, he says.

Delivering on the current contract is the immediate priority, Even adds, although he declines to specify the handover schedule.

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