Eurocopter is reporting increasing enquiries and orders from yacht owners who are buying helicopters to go with their yachts.
The trend was highlighted by a Dublin-based businessman at the Monaco Yacht Show who ordered an EC130 B4.
Dr. Ing.Massimo Vilardi, marketing manager business and private market segment, says: "He visits the Monaco Yacht Show every year, and, since he owns a yacht, has decided to acquire the new seven or eight seat single engine Eurocopter helicopter, whose model is displayed on the terrace of the Port Palace during the exhibition. It's his first ever helicopter. He's now very impatient to learn how to fly it!"
The sale was through McAlpine, Eurocopter's distributor for UK and Ireland.
Eurocopter has teamed up with yacht broker Edmiston whose president, Jamie Edmiston, says: "Anybody with a yacht over 65 metres can have a helicopter on board as a complementary means of transportation."
Vilardi says: "More and more yachts are being equipped to carry helicopters. A helicopter can pick guests up from an airport and take them directly to the yacht. It can rapidly transport passengers from the yacht to any city or specific place, allowing them to spend more time afloat, and do sightseeing in remote areas. The helicopter also offers a greater security if there is a need to urgently evacuate injured or sick people."
He says Eurocopter is employing its expertise in military naval helicopters to forge link the design of yachts and helicopters in the private and corporate market. "Eurocopter works closely with yacht architects and designers to integrate the helicopter at the very beginning of the yacht's life."
Rising numbers of service companies now offer yacht owners on demand 'turnkey' helicopter including the required logistics and support.
Most Eurocopter helicopters are "yacht compatible." They include the EC130 B4 and the twin engine EC135 T2 that was displayed on an Edmiston yacht, The Annaliesse, in the Monaco harbour.
An EC155 B1, a 12-seat vip and corporate model, operated by Heli Air Monaco and based at the Monaco Heliport, was used to transporting passengers to and from the exhibition.
"Eurocopter is excited about this emerging market and more globally the corporate/VIP segment, as it meets an increasing demand from businessmen and VIPs. In a market, where helicopters are performing alone or as the short leg of the business jet, travel time can be cut down to a minimum," says Vilardi.
"We are very keen on developing the concept with yacht architects, designers and brokers as we see a real potential for this niche market. There are indeed more and more super yachts being sold around the world and a need for their owners to rapidly get to and out of their yacht. Thanks to the high technology state of the art in using composite materials in order to reduce the weight and to extend the component's lives, the helicopters of Eurocopter are especially dedicated for maritime environment."