Responding to growing demand, Airbus Helicopters is to add a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) complex adjacent to its existing facility in the Kobe airport facility in Japan. Construction will begin in June next year, with the new facility expected to be operational in the November.
The company's existing facility is capable of accommodating up to 25 medium-sized helicopters simultaneously. It also houses its regional engineering hub and the country's first and only helicopter full motion full-flight simulator, which has trained over 500 pilots and engineers in Japan and across the region.
With this expansion, Airbus Helicopters will have the largest footprint in the aviation business sector of the Kobe airport facility, occupying a total space of 19,685 sqm. Its overall capacity will increase by 60 per cent to handle about 40 medium-sized helicopters at one time. The new building will feature a state-of-the-art hangar, an administration office and a purpose-built warehouse.
“Japan is an important market for Airbus Helicopters. This additional facility is part of our growth plan in the country and demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our support for our customers' fleets while responding to their increasing demand for aftersale support services,” says Olivier Tillier, managing director of Airbus Helicopters Japan. “We have been building up our capabilities in Kobe over the years and believe the site offers a lot of growth potential. With a larger capacity, we will be able to offer our complete suite of support and services to our customers, spanning after-sales customer support, MRO, engineering, technical support, simulator training and warehousing.”
Since the delivery of the first Alouette II helicopter to Mitsuya Air Service in 1961, Airbus Helicopters Japan has delivered more than 440 helicopters to operators and customers in the country for various missions across market segments. Currently leading the Japanese civil and parapublic market with a 54 per cent market share, the company plans to strengthen its market position in tandem with Japan's projected fleet growth of two per cent annually over the next two decades. It has already secured 50 per cent of the country's new bookings for 2018.