Eurocopter announced its wholly owned India subsidiary, Eurocopter India Private Limited on Wednesday, saying it intends to develop a countrywide MRO network. The Indian unit is Eurocopter’s 25th subsidiary and will be headquartered in New Delhi with an office in Mumbai and an engineering office in Bangalore, which will be expanded and run in collaboration with Airbus.
A company statement said a country-wide MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) network will be developed by the subsidiary, building on Eurocopter’s existing local assets and partnerships within India. “This includes its agreements with Pawan Hans Helicopter Ltd. – the world’s largest civil operator of AS365 Dauphins – for an in-country MRO operation to service this twin-engine helicopter type, along with the installation of an AS365 full-flight simulator for flight crew training,” said the statement.
It quoted Eurocopter India CEO Marie-Agnes Veve as saying, “Eurocopter is the world’s first major helicopter manufacturer to establish a subsidiary in India, which underscores our objective of being a key player in this very important marketplace.”
Eurocopter has 23 existing civil and government customers in India ranging from ‘support of offshore oil and gas drilling to VIP, corporate and passenger transportation’. There are 66 existing Eurocopter aircraft in operation in India and the company is aiming at a 50 per cent market-share by 2015, up from the existing 30 per cent, something which Veve admits is challenging, considering that Textron’s Bell has 50 per cent of the market share right now.
For this, they hope to sell 20 to 25 aircraft per year, aiming at 75 per cent of the sales to civilian customers, besides government purchases.
Eurocopter India plans to offer services like maintenance and support by offering responsive, cost-effective solutions for spares management, technical documentation, warranty claims and training for current and future operators’ needs and is also looking at expanding its industrial cooperation with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which has produced 600 of the company’s Lama (Cheetah) and Alouette III (Chetak) helicopters under license. HAL manufactures around 100 shipsets of airframe components per year for the AS550/AS350 helicopters and is part of the Eurocopter global supply chain, according to the statement.
Joseph Saporito, Eurocopter’s Executive Vice President – Commercial Helicopters, said in the statement, “The Indian helicopter sector has been growing at an annual rate of 20 percent, and our ambition is to become this country’s no. 1 supplier for the civilian, government and para-public markets – which is the case for Eurocopter in the rest of the world. The Eurocopter India subsidiary is part of our company’s continuing investment in staff, resources and services to achieve this objective.”
In his interaction with the press, Saporita said Eurocopter has a three-year backlog of orders and has seen a 40 per cent increase in its workforce over the last five years.