Airbus launches corporate helicopters brand
Airbus unveils a new brand, Airbus Corporate Helicopters, that it hopes will enable it to better target and serve business and private buyers of rotary craft.
The division will follow in the path of its fixed-wing cousin in the aircraft manufacturer’s stable, Airbus Corporate Jets, and will aim to give a more bespoke service and product.
“We will be the only manufacturer to offer corporate jets and corporate helicopters with a dedicated attention to the specific clientele,” said Frederic Lemos, head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters.
“ACH aims to create a cocoon of special care and enhance the ownership experience, from first contact with the company, to the acquisition process, to the production process to the delivery – which is a major milestone of the customer experience – to the support and resale of the aircraft.”
Airbus Helicopters has already launched several collaborations with designers and high-end brands from outside the rotary world, such as yacht specialist Pegasus Design, carmaker Mercedes-Benz, and fashion company Hermes.
“We want to raise the bar again and create a real gap between us and the competition to establish Airbus as the high-end reference for the market,” says Lemos.
According to Airbus Helicopters the private and business global helicopter fleet stands at 4,000 aircraft, but sluggish sales in the sector as a whole mean it is at its lowest level since 2008. The sector took 103 helicopters around the world last year, down from 200 in 2012. It expects this year to be much the same, but predicts the market will grow to 200 in 2019 and 300 five years after that.
Airbus Helicopters’ share of the private and business market is 33 per cent, Lemos said, and 52 per cent of helicopters above 1.3 tonnes, below which Airbus does not compete – though that is eclipsed by the manufacturer’s share of the civil and parapublic market, which stands at 59 per cent.