MD Helicopters, the Arizona, USA-headquartered manufacturer of a range of multi mission helicopters is marking 15 years of rotary sales activity in the Asian region by exhibiting for the first time at this year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition, ABACE 2014, currently taking place in Shanghai. Booth P708. MD Helicopters is promoting its complete range including the single-engine multi mission 500 and 600 series and the unique 530F and 540F for hot-and-high challenging missions and is showcasing for the first time in China its top of the range twin-engine, Chinese registered MD 902 Explorer in the static display.
There are now three MD902s operating in the region and Craig Kitchen, Chief Commercial Officer, MD Helicopters, A Lynn Tilton Company, anticipates that recent changes in regulations which have opened up airspace for the rotary sector will result in a dramatic change in the landscape as China recognises the full benefits of general aviation, and helicopter use, especially. MD Helicopters is responding with heightened marketing activity in the region, such as its participation at ABACE and the recent appointment in November of Sino-Quest Aviation Solutions as its second authorised sales representative for Asia, joining existing sales agent, Avionics Pacific. Next, it plans to open an office in Shanghai before the end of 2014.
“Just as the private jet market has grown we expect that Asia’s growing interest in helicopters will mirror the growth of western aviation activity and significant development will occur over the next three to five years. We want to support this growth and be ready to maximise the potential,” continues Kitchen. “We have two superb sales representatives and offer the full complement of after-market support in country. We also plan to explore further options to strengthen our presence here.”
Improvements in General Aviation infrastructure made by the Chinese Government are also supporting the long term growth for the sector. “The Chinese Government now recognises the benefits that rotary aviation can bring to a region. Increasingly, we are seeing the independent Provinces encouraging the use of helicopters for a variety of purposes, such as utility, emergency rescue, agricultural and even municipal applications, that will bolster social and economic growth for each area,” adds Kitchen.
During the show MD Helicopters will be working with its two local authorised representatives, Sino-Quest, and Avion Pacific to talk up the benefits of rotary aviation and its multi mission capabilities. “We are seeing interest from a wide variety of sectors, but particularly private enterprises and governmental administration bodies,” continues Kitchen. The MD902 Explorer has already generated significant interest at the show with its innovative NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) technology which Kitchen highlights as a major benefit for a young market that is learning how to work with helicopters on a regular basis. It is particularly suitable for the Emergency and Rescue sector where the operating environments are often challenging as it provides a safer working area with less exposed moving parts, whilst also noted for being safer and quieter during operational missions. The Explorer is flying internationally in a variety of roles for Police, Medevac (HEMS), VIP, Offshore and utility missions and Kitchen believes it will become a popular machine for the Chinese market.