Russian Helicopters looks to carve its niche on global market

Ahead of the HeliRussia exhibition in Moscow RT spoke with Russian Helicopters boss Andrei Shibitov, as the state run corporation looks for crucial orders, starting with the company’s collaboration with AgustaWestland.

AS: “Our collaboration with AgustaWestland is, by all means, very dynamic and close. We have good mutual understanding. And although at the global level we are competitors, since both of us are producing good-quality helicopters, our common interests allow us to realize mutually beneficial projects. This includes the creation of a licensed manufacture of AgustaWestland 139 helicopters in Russia. We are about to sign a license agreement and there's already a special site for it allocated formally and physically on the territory of the Moscow helicopter plant. So I think that the project will be carried out within the timeline defined in the agreements signed earlier.”

RT: Are there plans to break into the European market or are you looking to concentrate on the Asian and CIS markets mainly?

AS: “On today's market we mostly work with the models that were designed and produced in the Soviet period. That's why our main task is to keep the markets we already have: traditionally, it's been India, China, Africa and, partly, Southeast Asia; we also aim at broadening our presence on the Latin-American market, getting stronger in Southeast Asia and, by no means, losing neither India nor China. Talking about the nearest future, our task is to launch such new models as MI-38, KA-62, ANSAT and KA-226T (in the 3.5-ton range), thus broadening our regional markets and market categories. As for our plans for 2014-2015, our goal is to enter the European market with models that can and will be certified according to European Standards.”

RT: What is your estimation, how do you think the Russian helicopter market will develop?

AS: “One of the problems for helicopter market development in Russia is restrictions on flying. Taking in consideration the dynamic of the changes that we are seeing in the world, and the share of business aviation in the market, I think that Russia will not stay behind and in 2-3 years the problem will be resolved.”