Eurocopter soars high in India as its in-country subsidiary leads the Indian civil and parapublic helicopter markets' evolution
Eurocopter India delivered a strong performance during the first year of operation as a full-fledged Eurocopter subsidiary, leading the market with 65 percent of new aircraft deliveries in 2011. It has set its sights on meeting new milestones in the evolution of India’s civil and parapublic helicopter market, and is expanding its support and services network in major cities to provide proximity services to customers across India.
Eurocopter’s internationalization strategy to establish subsidiaries in key markets to be closer to its customers is showing good results in India. In just over a year since the inauguration of Eurocopter India in October 2010, customers are seeing the benefits of Eurocopter’s in-country presence. On-time deliveries, proximity services and development of new market segments are some of the achievements made in the last one year by the New Delhi-based outfit.
"Eurocopter has the honor of being the first helicopter manufacturer to commit to this market with a full-fledged subsidiary, and we have moved steadily ahead after its creation," said Xavier Hay, the CEO of Eurocopter India. "It may be a young subsidiary, but we already have achieved much, thanks to the experience and industrial relations that Eurocopter has built up over the last 50 years in India. We look forward to another half-century of success with our Indian partners."
Based on the 2011 record of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Eurocopter India delivered nine brand new turbine helicopters out of a total of 14 registered last year, representing a 65% market share. Out of the nine Eurocopter aircraft delivered, five were twin-engine helicopters, with the remaining four being the single-engine AS350 B3.
The superiority of Eurocopter’s AS350 B3 and its latest version – the AS350 B3e – has been clearly demonstrated in India. After securing an impressive 70-80 percent market share in the single-engine sector during the last two years, the AS350 family has become the definitive reference in India in this category for excellent performance in hot and high conditions with the lowest operational costs.
Other highlights of the year included the delivery of Pawan Hans Helicopters’ 10th and final AS365 N3 Dauphin in a deal that was signed in March 2010. This makes Pawan Hans the biggest Dauphin operator in the world, with a fleet of 35 helicopters and a record of over 375,000 flight hours logged. A unit of the EC155, an enhanced version of the Dauphin family, was also successfully delivered on time to the Madhya Pradesh government, fulfilling the customer’s expectations as it gained smooth entry into service with satisfactory performance.
Eurocopter also focused on developing its support and services offerings, where customers would be able to access a full suite of services from spare parts supply and technical assistance, to training, retrofits and customization anywhere in India. In addition, Eurocopter India is also expanding its network of Eurocopter-approved maintenance centres, adding Bangalore to the two existing facilities in New Delhi and Mumbai.
Giving it a vote of confidence, Chief Pilot of EON Aviation Capt. R.S. Das noted that “the opening of the Eurocopter subsidiary in India for supply of spares has enabled direct interaction between the operator and the OEM, with consequent reduction in the downtime of the helicopter.” The Director of Himalayan Heli Services, Harsh Vardhan expressed similar sentiments, saying that “the technical team also based in the Delhi office, work in tandem with our engineers and are greatly helpful in the trouble shooting of any technical problem that we may have faced.”
Recognizing the immense potential of this huge market, Eurocopter India has been laying the foundations to develop new market segments, such as aerial and utility work, as well as emergency medical services. It has already successfully cemented the leadership position of the AS350 B3 Ecureuil, making it the preferred choice for operators not only in charter missions, heli-tourism, pilgrimage tours and geophysical surveys, but also in electronic news gathering missions when this model was used for live coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural F1 Indian Grand Prix last year.
“Our achievements in the first year of operations augur well for Eurocopter India’s future in this high-growth market. The bookings that we received in the first quarter of 2012 is an encouraging sign that we will end the year on a high note,” Hay concluded.
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Source : Eurocopter, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)