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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: New Eurocopter Chief Cites Challenges Ahead

HELI-EXPO 2007

With a backlog of $14.5 billion and a 50-percent jump in sales, Eurocopter faces the challenge of meeting delivery schedules without overheating its supply and production systems. That was the message new Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling brought to Heli-Expo. He cautioned against Eurocopter resting on its laurels as the dominant player in the civil helicopter market. "Feeling comfortable is the first step to losing."

The former CEO of Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH reported that Eurocopter booked 615 orders last year, versus 401 in 2005. It delivered 381 helicopters, vs. 334 in 2005. Turnover in 2006 was €3.8 billion ($5 billion), an 18-percent increase over 2005. Eurocopter’s backlog at the end of 2006 amounted to €11 billion ($14.5 billion).

In addition to managing its spool-up of production, Bertling said customer support remains a challenge for Eurocopter. "We are number one in sales, but we are not number one in customer support," he said. "We intend to increase our level of customer support significantly in the coming year.

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