China to build $1.2-bn helicopter production facility

January 13th, 2009 - 10:00 am ICT by IANS  

Tianjin (China), Jan 13 (Xinhua) China will build a commercial helicopter production base here at a cost of about $1.2 billion, authorities have said.The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AICC), the country’s largest helicopter maker, signed an agreement with the municipal government last week to start work on the base in the first half of this year at a cost of $1.2 billion, Feng Zhijiang, head of the Tian Free Trade Zone, said Monday.

The new China Aviation Industry Helicopters Corporation facility will include a research and development base, assembly facilities and customer services, Feng said.

The new company will focus on medium and heavy helicopters, filling a void in the domestic market. Sales are forecast to reach 30 billion to 40 billion yuan ($4.39-5.85 billion) within 10 years.

Two helicopters are expected to be assembled this year, Feng said.

China needs about 3,000 helicopters in the next 20 years but has only about 100 civilian craft, said Fang Yong, AICC deputy general manager.

China declared the manufacture of helicopters and other aircraft a top priority in its 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010).

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