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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Russian Helicopters Continues Latin Expansion

Q&A by Claudio Agostini

Claudio Agostini, Latin America bureau chief for Rotor & Wing, recently spoke with Russian Helicopters’ head of communications Roman Kirilov and Konstantin Yuritsyn, business development director for Latin America, about the region’s growth opportunities and emerging trends.

Rotor & Wing: What percentage of your market sales in is Latin America?

Russian Helicopters: We do not break down our sales figures on a market-by-market basis, but we can say that Latin America is an important market to us and is becoming increasingly so in terms of future growth, particularly in the commercial sector. We are taking first steps with our commercial helicopters in the region, and have delivered on our first contracts, and although we are still exploring the region, to some extent we expect to grow rapidly in Latin America in the coming years.

Russian Helicopters started exploring Latin America two years ago and began delivering the Ka-32A11BC and Mi-171A1 early in 2011. Late last year the Ka-32A11BC received Brazilian certification. In future years we expect Latin America to assume an increasingly important position in our sales structure, particularly [in] key markets. The region is continuing to see rapid economic growth, and the market for helicopter services is increasing as a result.

Rotor & Wing: Which variants will have the highest demand, and what applications are seeing increased interest?

Russian Helicopters: We anticipate that our most popular [types] in the Latin American markets will be our newest medium and lightweight helicopters, as well as the heavy-lift Mi-26T2. We have adapted several models suited to the climates and geographies of this varied region, and presented them at the recent FIDAE 2012 exhibition in Chile.

All of the models that we expect to be successful in Latin America are designed to produce top performance in tough conditions. The light coaxial Ka-226T can transport up to seven passengers but remains very compact due to the absence of a tail rotor. It is perfect for work in mountains, atop tall buildings and offshore. The new heavyweight Mi-26T2 can carry up to 20 tons of load externally or inside its cabin, covering up to 800 kilometers at a time.

The Mi-171A2 has been thoroughly overhauled and is now under development, intended for the international markets. It is based on the Mi-171A1, which was created specifically for use in Latin America and has both AR IAC and Brazilian CAA certificates. This helicopter has already been successful in Brazil. A recent example in November 2010, Atlas Taxi Aereo acquired two for use in the services it provides to oil company Petrobras.

The Ka-32A11BC has been certificated in Brazil since December 2011. The acquisition of the Ka-32A11BC—the first by a Brazilian helicopter operator—is a pilot project as Helipark Taxi Aereo seeks to diversify its fleet. In the future the company may order more units of this helicopter. If new contracts are signed, Russian Helicopters and Helipark Taxi Aereo may consider establishing a joint Russian-Brazilian service and training center for the Ka-32А11ВС.

Rotor & Wing: What is the outlook for specific countries?

Russian Helicopters: We have identified three countries as the potential cornerstones of our future growth in Latin America—Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. All three are growing very fast, and we expect that the market for helicopter services will continue to increase accordingly. The principle of “open sky” in Brazil, including in big cities, helps a lot to develop business. Russian Helicopters has already delivered its first commercial machines to Brazilian operators, and is also working with Rosoboronexport to fulfill an order from the Argentina Defence Ministry. We’ve also had dialogue with consulting company Logitec Consultoría em Logística on cooperation in promoting Russian holding’s products to the Brazilian market.

Rotor & Wing: What is the total fleet in the region?

Russian Helicopters: Currently more than 400 Russian-made helicopters of various types are in operation in countries across Latin America.
Related: Airframe News
 

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