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Heavy helicopter industry to fly after joint venture (2)

(China Daily)

10:14, November 08, 2011

In October 2008, Wen and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between AVIC and Russian Helicopters on jointly developing heavy-lift helicopters.

However, the jointly developed heavy chopper will be "more reliable and more economic to use" and "suit China's demands better", he said.

China is believed to be a big potential market for helicopters.

By the end of 2010, there were only 206 registered civilian-use helicopters across the country, which is less than 1 percent of the total civilian helicopters in the world. Avicopter forecast that with the relaxing of low-altitude airspace, the demand for helicopters will grow quickly, and the mainland will need 200 civilian helicopters between 2011 and 2015.

As the only State-owned chopper producer, Avicopter accounts for about 60 percent of the domestic market, according to Xia.

The company currently has four helicopter production bases including Harbin, in Heilongjiang province, Jingdezhen, in Jiangxi and Baoding, in Hebei.

Yang Chunhai, who is in charge of production and technologies at the Tianjin base, said the Tianjin base will become where all civilian helicopters are assembled and go through test flights.

Built two years ago, the Tianjin base will produce 10 helicopters through two production lines this year, he said.

According to Xia, the Tianjin base's capability is expected to double next year, and it is able to assemble 150 civil-use helicopters by 2020.

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