For his final annual press conference as head of Airbus Helicopters, Guillaume Faury adopted the Édith Piaf approach, declaring that he had “no regrets” about any aspect of his five-year stint as chief executive.

Faury has much to be proud about, of course, having led a deep industrial transformation at the rotorcraft manufacturer: it is now a leaner, more competitive animal than when he arrived.

In addition, Airbus Helicopters has maintained its leadership position in the civil and parapublic market, despite the wider crisis in the rotorcraft segment.

Credit can also be taken for the smooth progress of the H160, although the final verdict on that programme will only come after Faury has left.

But when it comes to new helicopters, the collapse in the oil and gas sector has arguably put paid – for now at least – to what would have been Faury’s personal legacy: a successor to the H225 heavy-twin.

Given that he began his helicopter career working on the Super Puma, a successful launch of the X6 would have brought things neatly full circle.

However, a crashing oil price, coupled with H225 safety concerns, scuppered that dream and any new heavy is now on indefinite hold.

Perhaps instead of channelling the famous French chanteuse, Faury should have looked to Frank Sinatra for advice: “Regrets, I’ve had a few…”

Source: Flight International