Bangalore,Feb 11 (IANS) European helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter Friday announced it has sold five AS350 B3 passenger transport helicopters to three Indian customers.
Three were ordered by Global Vectra, whose fleet will grow to seven AS350 B3s, while Summit Aviation and SS Aviation purchased one each.
“All five are scheduled to be delivered during 2011,” said Eurocopter president and CEO Lutz Bertling here on the sidelines of Aero India-2011.
“Seeing this trend, we are confident the AS350 B3 will be instrumental in developing such segments as heli-tourism, passenger transportation, rescue, aerial work and law enforcement throughout the country,” Bertling said.
Capable of performing at extremely high altitudes, the AS350 B3 single-engine helicopter can carry more passengers in hot and high conditions than any other rotary-wing aircraft in its class.
The AS350 B3 has experienced major success in heli-skiing applications at such locations as the Alps in Europe, North America’s Rocky Mountains and Alaska, and the Andes in South America – with operations now extended to the Himalayas in India.
“Heli-skiing is a sport that requires high level of aircraft safety, robustness and capability to function immaculately in extremely high altitude conditions,” Summit Aviation managing director Neeraj Bhatia said.
“The AS350 B3 was our choice for such duties at Gulmarg, Kashmir, where it is taking on the most challenging tasks with ease, and demonstrating incredible performance,” he added.
The AS350 B3 also aided pilgrim tourism in India and is flying tourists to places like Vaishno Devi, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Amarnath.
It is used by numerous operators for corporate transportation, and has become the backbone of India’s geophysical surveys.
Five AS350 B3s are in operation to support the country’s geophysical survey activity, with four of them flown by Global Vectra – the first operator using this helicopter type in India for such missions.
Most recently, Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited equipped an AS350 B3 with cameras and relay equipment for TV broadcasts during the recent Commonwealth Games, an Indian first.
SS Aviation is a new customer for Eurocopter, with the AS350 B3 becoming the first helicopter in its fleet.
“There is an increasing demand in the rural areas of Karnataka for air transport services, so the purchase of a helicopter makes sense to cater to this growing demand,” SS Aviation CEO Mahesh Iyer said.