The Airbus Helicopters H135 final assembly in Qingdao has officially opened. The first aircraft roll-out is scheduled for the second half of the year.
The Airbus Helicopters H135 final assembly line in Qingdao has officially opened. The factory is the first helicopter FAL built by a foreign manufacturer in China, as well as the first H135 FAL outside of Europe. Construction started in May 2017.
The opening of this FAL 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 of these 100 helicopters will be assembled on this FAL from 2019 onwards.
The first of these helicopters — assembled in Germany — was delivered in October 2018.
Main components including the main fuselage, main gearbox kits and rear fuselage will be shipped to Qingdao from Donauwörth, Germany and Albacete, Spain respectively.
The 6,500sqm Qingdao plant comprises four work stations, a paint booth, ground and flight test areas, and a delivery centre. The site will employ around 40 people, 23 of whom have received on-the-job training in Donauwörth.
The first aircraft roll-out from Qingdao 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.