QINGDAO, China—Airbus Helicopters recently opened a final-assembly plant here for the H135 helicopter, the first such facility built by a foreign manufacturer in China, as well as the first for the H135 outside of Europe. The opening of the plant follows a cooperation agreement signed between Airbus Helicopters and China in 2016 for the purchase of 100 H135s destined for the Chinese market. Ninety five models will be assembled here.
The first aircraft roll-out is expected to take place in the second half of 2019. Operations will start with an annual capacity of 18 helicopters, which could be doubled to accommodate future growth.
Final assembly work is done on the main fuselage, main gearbox kits and rear fuselage that are shipped to Qingdao from Donauwörth, Germany, and Albacete, Spain.
The plant is composed of four working stations, a paint booth, ground and flight test areas, and a delivery center. The site will employ around 40 people, 23 of whom received on-the-job training in Germany.