(Yicai Global) Nov. 7 -- The assembly line for Airbus' Eurocopter H135 in Qingdao, in eastern China's Shandong province is set to conclude construction by the end of this year and will start running early next year, said George Xu, chief executive of the Airbus China affiliate Leiden, the Netherlands-based Airbus Group.
Xu made this projection at a press conference of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition that runs from Nov. 6 to 11 in Zhuhai, in southeastern Guangdong province, state media The Paper reported.
The assembly line -- the first for helicopters invested in and built by a Western company in China -- will have an initial production capacity of 18 units per year. That output will gradually rise based on actual demand. Products will initially mainly find domestic use in emergency medical services and rescue operations, Xu said.
The Eurocopter EC135 is a twin-engined civil light utility helicopter equipped with digital flight control, a top speed of 259 kilometers per hour and a USD3 million to USD4.2 million sticker price, public information shows.
About 280 Airbus helicopters served 85 Chinese customers as of August, claiming 38 percent share of the domestic civil chopper market, Xu said.
China has now become the largest market for Airbus, with the number of aircraft it delivers to the country making up about one-quarter of its global deliveries, Xu noted.
Editor: Ben Armour