Airbus Helicopters delivered 356 rotorcraft and logged gross orders for 413 helicopters (net: 381) in 2018 (up from 350 gross orders in 2017), maintaining its lead in the civil & parapublic market while reinforcing its position in the military market thanks to key successes with international campaigns.
The company also booked 148 orders for light twin-engine helicopters of the H135/H145 family and secured 15 orders for the next-generation H160. At the end of last year, the overall backlog increased to 717 helicopters.
“Our commercial performance in 2018 demonstrates the resilience we have developed as a company to help us navigate what remains a challenging environment,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Even though the civil & parapublic market remains at a low level worldwide, we have managed to maintain our global leadership thanks to our wide and modern portfolio of products and services and our international footprint. Meanwhile, we have increased our market share in the military sector by securing major contracts with leading armed forces worldwide, with best-in-class solutions. These positive trends give us the means to prepare the future and continue our transformation, with innovation at our core and customer loyalty at heart.”
In 2018, Airbus Helicopters delivered the first of 100 H135s for China in Qingdao, where a dedicated final assembly line will serve the growing demand of the Chinese market for civil & parapublic helicopters. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Government Flying Service took delivery of the first H175s in public services configuration.
Last year also proved successful for the Super Puma family which demonstrated its versatility by being selected in key military campaigns, while attracting new civil & parapublic customers with repurposed H225s previously operated on the oil & gas market. Likewise, 2018 proved to be a very positive year for the NH90, which attracted orders for 28 units in Qatar while being selected by Spain in the frame of a follow-on order for 23 units.
Key programme milestones were achieved in 2018, including the power-on and ground testing of the CityAirbus electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology demonstrator, ahead of a maiden flight expected early 2019. The first H160 in serial configuration entered flight trials in 2018, while the VSR700 unmanned aerial system demonstrator performed its first unmanned flights at the end of the year.