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23 Jun, 2010 06:44

Russian-Italian helicopter project launched

Italy’s Agustawestland and Russian Technologies State Corporation have launched a joint venture in producing hi-tech helicopters in Russia.

Russian companies like Utair, a major world helicopter operator, have already ordered the first 10 machines, which can be used as transportation and a VIP helicopter, as well as work in off-shore operations and for emergencies.

The 40 million Euro project brings new opportunities for both sides, says Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Agustawestland

“Manufacturing helicopters here with Russian Helicopters is important because we can have access to this market. And Helicopters are not paying the import taxes since the Helicopters manufactured here.”

Italy's Finmeccanica which has already delivered 300 of the helicopters around the world views Russia as a big and promising market. Its chairman and CEO, Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, also says expanding to other markets is crucial for European companies especially as the financial problems on the continent mount.

“From my side the solution is to invest in products, technology in order to increase the capability to sell outside Europe because the new countries are growing very fast, while Europe is very stable, they increase 1-2% maximum, in order the restart the European economy you must sell outside Europe.”

The product is planned for the former Soviet states as well as some other countries, says Denis Manturov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade.

“Any joint partnership brings the economies closer, especially in the hi-tech industries, which includes helicopters. The project is interesting for the Italian economy as it widens its production and marketing opportunities.”

Russian-Italian partnership has already produced a bright example of success – the Sukhoi Superjet airline. The helicopter project is the second aircraft to be developed between the two countries and is hopeful of similar success.