Airbus Helicopter Signs China Deal for More Than $1b

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  • Deal is for 100 H135 helicopters, to be made over seven years
  • Agreement includes completion and delivery center in China

Airbus Helicopters Inc. signed a deal with China worth more than $1.1 billion for 100 rotorcraft, and also pledged to build a completion and delivery center on the mainland.

Airbus Helicopters and China signed the agreement for 100 H135 helicopters after a Chinese-German Economic Advisory Committee meeting in Hefei, under the watch of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Airbus Group’s helicopter unit will take seven years to build the order, said Wolfgang Schoder, its chief executive. He added the deal was worth "more than 1 billion euros" ($1.1 billion).

China is encouraging foreign planemakers to expand their local footprints as its own fledging aerospace industry takes shape, and the proposed facility in Qingdao adds to Airbus’s China presence. The Toulouse-based planemaker has a factory to make single-aisle A320 planes in Tianjin and in July announced plans to build a completion center for A330s.

On Thursday, China signed a deal to buy 30 twin-aisle A330 and 100 single-aisle A320 planes worth $17 billion from Airbus, firming up purchase options announced earlier this year. Airbus Group SE said Friday it plans to increase production of its best-selling A320 single-aisle jet to 60 a month to keep up with booming demand that helped propel a 12 percent earnings increase in the third quarter.

China may add demand for about 200 emergency medical choppers in the next decade, or 10 percent of the current global fleet in that market, and in the long term it may operate as many as 3,000, Schoder said in an Oct 9 interview.

(An earlier version of this story corrected the names of the people who signed the deal.)

— With assistance by Arne Delfs, and Clement Tan

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