Airbus Helicopters set down the foundation stone of its new Romanian factory, established to assemble the H215 helicopter.
The H215 is an evolution of the former AS332 C1e/L1e helicopter. Under the control of Airbus Helicopters Industries, the 10,000m² factory based in Brasov will house H215 production from procurement to after-sales, including design office activities, and will provide jobs to more than 300 employees in the long term. The first H215 to roll out of the assembly line is planned for 2017.
The airframer is investing EUR 50 million in the purpose-built, 10,000 sqm facility, which will be operated by a new company, Airbus Helicopters Industries. It has had a presence in the central European country since 2002, with Airbus Helicopters Romania (AHR) – a joint venture with state-owned aerospace company IAR – developing a successful maintenance, repair and overhaul business.
“This expanded partnership with Romania, an important EU and NATO member, will ensure that our legacy twin-engine heavy helicopters are more economical than ever on current and emerging markets,” Faury added.
From 2017, the production of the 8.6t maximum take-off weight helicopter will be progressively transferred from France to the new factory in Ghimbav, reaching full-rate production of 15-20 aircraft per year from 2019. Initial deliveries in 2017 will be confined to the short fuselage (C1e) model, with the 76cm-longer variant added from 2019.
The new entity is 100 percent owned by Airbus Helicopters, Serge Durand, managing director of Airbus Helicopters Industries said.
“We wanted to be in full control of our future,” Fabrice Arfi, Vice-President of Business Development Airbus Helicopters said in his turn. He believes it can achieve 30-35 percent Romanian content on the helicopter – including the value of labour – within five years. It is already working to secure its local supply chain, he says, with contracts to be signed next year.