Bell Helicopter identifies China as strongest growth market

By Hu Tao & Wang Pan

 

World’s leading aircraft producer Bell Helicopter has identified China as its strongest market for growth and plans to grow facilities and services in the country.

“We are mapping out the service network together with Chinese partners, trying to make a solid foundation to ensure our market can go forward,” said John Garrison, president and CEO with Bell helicopter,on November 15.

He made the comments during an exclusive interview with Xinhua at the ongoing 9th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Zhuhai Airshow) in the southern city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province, from November 13 to 18.

“We think China will be one of the strongest potential growth markets in the world. Clearly, the government will continue to open up low-altitude airspace, and regulations will be important for the entire industry.”

Bell Helicopter has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assist with the establishment of a maintenance training facility for Bell 206L and 407 helicopters in Guangdong Province.

The MOU will focus on training for the Bell 206L and Bell 407 product lines, and includes access to training course materials, electronic training systems and ongoing support.

It will reinforce Bell Helicopter’s commitment to increasing its global customer service and support, said Garrison.

The company has also appointed Shanghai Kingwing General Aviation Co., Ltd., (Kingwing GA) as a Bell Helicopter authorized Customer Service Facility (CSF).

“China is facing unprecedented demand for training, support and products as it moves to expand its aviation infrastructure,” said Garrison.

According to recent forecasts, there is a projected need for as many as 2,000 helicopters in the coming decade, which will require thousands of trained professionals to fly and maintain these aircraft to standards.

There is not only an opportunity to help create these jobs, but also ensure China has access to the best operational and technical training possible, he said.

Bell Helicopter predicts market growth in China’s general aviation will be 20 to 25 percent per year.

China’s aviation authorities released a roadmap for the opening-up of the country’s low-altitude airspace at the Zhuhai Airshow.

According to Bell’s statistics, only 600 commercial helicopters are supporting 1.3 billion people around China. There are more than 8,000 helicopters supporting about 300 million people in the U.S..

Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft. It is also the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft.

Recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell’s aircraft in more than 120 countries.

Bell is clear where market is heading. Countries like China, India and Brazil are growing more rapidly than other countries, said Garrison.

“We believe the Asia-Pacific region, in about 15 years, will replace the European market as the second largest market of general aviation behind the U.S. And China is a very important role in that growth,” he said.

There is a huge market for helicopters to serve in police patrol, search and rescue, emergency medical services, fire fighting, disaster relief and to carry goods in the country.

Bell Helicopter is facing strong competition around the world and China is a very competitive market. The company is creating value for customers by providing diversified selection of products, Garrison added.

“Our task now is to ensure the Chinese customer has the same level of strong customer services support that we offer around the world,” he added.(Contribution:Wei Meng and Qian Chunxuan)

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