Airbus Helicopters delivered 356 rotorcraft and logged gross orders for 413 helicopters (net: 381) in 2018, up from 350 gross orders in 2017. The company also booked 148 orders for light twin-engine helicopters of the H135/H145 family and secured 15 orders for its H160. At the end of last year, the overall backlog increased to 717 helicopters.
“Our commercial performance in 2018 demonstrates the resilience we have developed as a company to help us navigate what remains a challenging environment,” says CEO Bruno Even. “Even though the civil and parapublic market remains at a low level worldwide, we have managed to maintain our global leadership thanks to our wide and modern portfolio of products and services and our international footprint. These positive trends give us the means to prepare the future and continue our transformation, with innovation at our core and customer loyalty at heart.”
In 2018, the OEM delivered the first of 100 H135s for China in Qingdao, where a dedicated final assembly line will serve the Chinese market's growing demand for civil and parapublic helicopters. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Government Flying Service took delivery of the first H175s in public services configuration.
Key programme milestones were achieved in 2018, including the power-on and ground testing of the CityAirbus electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology demonstrator, ahead of a maiden flight expected in early 2019. The first H160 in serial configuration entered flight trials in 2018, while the VSR700 unmanned aerial system demonstrator performed its first unmanned flights at the end of the year.