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Eurocopter touts Russia market share
by Staff Writers
Marignane, France (UPI) Aug 18, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

France's Eurocopter says its participation at this week's MAKS Aviasalon industry event in Russia highlights its strong position in the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States market.

Exhibiting with its parent company, EADS, Eurocopter is showing scale models of the single-engine AS350 B3, along with the twin-engine EC135 and EC145, all of which have been ordered by customers in the region.

Eurocopter's overall share of the Russian and CIS marketplace for Western-supplied turbine-engine helicopters is more than 70 percent, it said.

"We are in this market for the long term, and our commitment is to meet the extreme operating requirements in Russia and the CIS with Eurocopter's evolving helicopter product line," said Laurence Rigolini, chief executive officer of the Eurocopter subsidiary, Vostok.

"Our strategy includes building cooperative relationships with key players to ensure the highest levels of support and flight safety for the growing Eurocopter fleet."

Current Eurocopter customers include Russia's UTair Aviation, which operates the AS350 B3, AS355N and BO105 helicopters, and which is expanding its fleet with the enhanced AS350 B3e version and the EC175.

In a cooperative effort that is aligned with Eurocopter's safety and support goals, a training academy and certified maintenance center are being located at UTair's engineering facility in Tyumen.

Another Eurocopter customer in Russia is Gazpromavia, which is receiving eight EC135 helicopters equipped with Russian-built mission avionics from Transas Aviation -- a first for Eurocopter rotary-wing aircraft. Three EC145s are operated by the Moscow Aviation Center, which uses the helicopters for medical evacuation and emergency missions.

Eurocopter Vostok, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurocopter SAS, was created in 2006 to provide sales and customer support and to implement fleet follow-up in Russia and the CIS. More than 140 Eurocopter helicopters are operating throughout Russia and the CIS countries.

Meanwhile, Eurocopter said it has delivered the first of 20 Ecureuil family helicopters contracted last autumn by UTair in the largest acquisition of its kind for the Russian and CIS market in the lightweight helicopter segment.

The initial helicopter provided is a single-engine AS350 B3. It is to be followed by deliveries of the enhanced AS350 B3e version, for which UTair is the launch customer in Russia, along with the twin-engine Ecureuil AS355 NP variant.

"UTair Aviation is actively involved in a wide range of helicopter operations including humanitarian missions for the U.N., charter flights to distant ant hardly accessible regions, surveillance and monitoring flights for oil and gas industry.' UTair Aviation General Director Andrey Martirosov said.

"The Ecureuil helicopter has a proven track record carrying out such missions and we are happy to expand our fleet with this high performance machine; we believe that the AS350 B3 will be very helpful in our job and will make it even more efficient."

Eurocopter's AS350 B3 is a high-performance, light single-engine helicopter adapted for extreme operating conditions, including at very high altitudes and has the capability to transport heavy loads. The enhanced AS350 B3e version features an improved engine and new interior design, along with tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting.

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