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​Fall in helicopter orders takes toll on Airbus

1st November 2019 - 11:04 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

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Airbus SE has announced nine-month financial results for 2019 showing that its helicopter division saw an order intake drop of 25% compared to the same period in 2018.

This time around 173 units were recorded for the order intake tally against 230 units in 2018, with a marginal dip in deliveries. The nine-month financial results were published on 30 October 2019.      

The delivery figures see 209 units in 2019 compared to 218 units in 2018, with Airbus Helicopters revenue down 1% during that time.

The order intake decline contrasts with full year results for 2018 which saw the company enjoy an 18% rise in orders to 413 units, though deliveries fell 13% from 2017. 

Looking at civil helicopter business specifically in 2019, Airbus picked up 43 orders across its full portfolio during Heli-Expo in March 2019, while more recently the manufacturer announced in October that Air Greenland had ordered two H225 heavy-lift aircraft as a means of the operator attempting to win a domestic SAR contract.

Certification for the in-development H160 medium before the end of 2019 will also mark a key programme milestone as first deliveries begin thereafter. An order count of 15 units during 2018 has been compounded, however, by a failure to secure a launch oil and gas customer for the type.

Order prospects from a military perspective would see a significant boost if the US Navy awards the OEM with a contract for its Advanced Helicopter Training System programme which is due to be awarded in November 2019. The H135 light twin offer faces stiff competition from Leonardo’s TH-119 and Bell’s 407GXi.

Any such agreement with the US Navy calls for an industry partner to produce 130 new trainers over a four-year term.

Other 2019 highlights for Airbus included a 1000th Super Puma delivery to the German Federal Police in September and delivery of the first NH90 Sea Lion to the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support in October. 

The manufacturer did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. 

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