At HeliExpo, Guillaume Faury told the expectant group of journalists gathered in Paris, all will be revealed about the Airbus Helicopters X4 project, including its new name. Other than that, he would only say that there were already prototypes of the X4 built, and that it will fly in 2015. For everything else, he said, with a gleam in his eyes, you must wait until HeliExpo.
So, we had to focus on the fact that 2014 was not a particularly good year for Airbus Helicopters deliveries but better than 2006. Yup, thanks to a good order book even the years since 2009 have been better than this last one, with its gently descending numbers. However, ever upbeat, the message was “steady results despite challenging market conditions.” And, while they may have lost out a little in the military market they were really more interested in the commercial sector anyway. Ho hum.
Slightly annoying that the oil and gas market is not as buoyant as it was, and that sanctions and the sliding rouble meant Russia was not the young girl’s dream anymore, but at least the heavy market was doing better than it had. And, worth pointing this out, natch, there is more profit in a heavy twin than a light single.
Besides, there will be old helicopters to replace, and even if there is a potential mansion tax and everywhere is looking to deplete the rich, and destroy their tax avoidance schemes, the rich still have assets, the traffic is still terrible all through Europe and helicopters are still the best way to get about. And don’t forget HEMS. Airbus Helicopters has a virtual monopoly here and they are making must-have upgrades for all their machines. And don’t forget Poland, Korea and Qatar…contracts..
So, onward and upwards. 2015 is going to be a good one. And then there is the X4 naming…