Airbus signs 50-helicopter deal with China’s GDAT


Airbus Helicopters has agreed to sell 50 H160 medium utility twin-engine helicopters to Chinese helicopter lessor and operator GDAT. The deal is the largest single order for the H160 helicopter on the civil and parapublic market since the helicopter was unveiled eight years ago.

The H160s will be deployed mainly in the country’s energy sector, including offshore transportation for oil and gas platforms, wind farms and harbour piloting. The aircraft will also fly emergency medical services (EMS) and other municipal public service missions. Included in the deal is a strategic cooperation agreement specifying support and services capabilities.

Commenting on the deal – revealed during French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China – Bruno Even, CEO, Airbus Helicopters said the manufacturer was honoured GDAT has decided to boost its fleet of 26 Airbus helicopters with the addition of 50 H160s. “The H160 has been designed at the outset as a multi-mission helicopter and is, therefore, well suited to the multiple segments that lessors provide for,said Even.

Peter Jiang, chairman, GDAT said: This contract is a great example of the importance of economic and trade cooperation between France and China. The innovative H160 is the perfect addition to our fleet and will enable us to continue our success story on the Chinese market that began with our 21 H225 helicopters.”

GDAT sees a lot of potential for the H160 in China, particularly for the energy sector, he added. The organisation specialises in helicopter sales and leasing, maintenance and modifications, plus emergency rescue flights, and other government services. Based in Shanghai, GDAT has four wholly-owned subsidiaries across China and operating bases in Suzhou and Ningbo with a branch in London.

The H160 is said to offer passengers superior comfort thanks to the sound-reducing Blue Edge blades and operators a light maintenance plan. Powered by two Arrano engines from Safran Helicopter Engines that are claimed to cut fuel burn by 15%, the helicopter is certified to fly with 50% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). More than 300 Airbus helicopters operate in China, serving over 90 customers.

Above: An Airbus H160 flies a maritime rescue mission.