We talked to Patrick Moulay, Executive Vice President, Bell Helicopter, about the outlook for the company as we near the end of 2017.
Moulay said: “Actually, 2017 is a much better year compared to what we have seen over the last two years. We are finally seeing the market bounce back. I’m happy to say that we have already delivered more helicopters in 2017 than we had delivered for the entire year last year. So we start to see more momentum coming back in our industry. And we are very glad to see that.”
This momentum is also being carried forward by the launch of two new models, the 505 and the 525.
Moulay said: “We have finally started the delivery of our new 505…the momentum around that aircraft is just phenomenal. We have sold two years of production already for the aircraft. We continue to see a lot of orders coming up…we just had another order for 50 aircraft from China, so we are very excited.”
The next big thing
“The next big thing for us is the 525,” Moulay said. “The certification is on the way for next year and we are very excited to bring that product to the market.”
Looking ahead to the focus for 2018, Moulay said: “For all the manufacturers, not only for Bell Helicopter, we see a lot of growth in Asia, and in China in particular.
“We believe that actually in 2018 we will see more orders coming from that part of the world compared to the United States, which has been a very strong domestic market traditionally for Bell. So we see actually the growth in China being phenomenal.”
“If I can put some number to put that into perspective, this year alone we have taken more than 200 orders in China, which represents almost 50% of orders booked. So a lot of activities in Asia compared to the rest of the world.”