Eurocopter launches Indian subsidiary to capture 50 percent market


New Delhi : The world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, Eurocopter, Wednesday launched a wholly-owned subsidiary in India to capture half of the country’s growing civilian helicopter market by 2015.

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Eurocopter, the first major international chopper manufacturer to start operations in India, will also set up an engineering centre in Bangalore next year to support its global design and development activities, said Marie-Agnes Veve, chief executive, Eurocopter India.

Eurocopter, part of European Aeronautic Defence And Space Co. NV, expects India to be a 50 choppers a year market by 2015 and would focus on civil uses like private, corporate, VIP transport to fuel growth.

It plans to sell about 20 this year.

“We are targeting a 50 percent market share, currently we have 30 percent. Our main focus areas are public transports like private, VIP travel and parapublic transport like HEMS (helicopter emergency medical services), offshore exploration and utility sector,” said Veve.

It would also focus on law enforcement segment which is expected to place major orders in the short-to-medium term.

Oil and gas exploration is another sector holding good business potential, she said.

The company did not divulge any financial details of its investments as it was still in the process of finalizing the business model with its partners.

“I cannot say anything at this moment as we are still working out models with our partners and as there as many possibilities,” Veve said.

The company, best known for choppers (Cheetah and Chetak) manufactured under licensed production by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) and used by Indian defence forces, will also build a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre for its helicopters in India.

“We plan to establish an engineering centre with collaboration with our sister company Airbus in Bangalore, while we will also continue to have maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility with our partners like HAL and Pawan Hans,” Veve said.

Currently there are 66 Eurocopters flying with various operators in the country, the largest being state-run chopper operator Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL) which owns 36 choppers.

“There are around 360 Eurocopters in the defence forces. We foresee this number to grow substantially,” said Veve.