Eurocopter signs contract with Airbus to manufacture A350 XWB doors in Donauwörth
Parliamentary State Secretary Peter Hintze attends signing of contract worth around 1.5 billion euros
By assuming responsibility for the development and manufacture of all A350 XWB doors, Eurocopter has reached another milestone in its efforts to be recognized as a fullyfledged systems provider. "This A350 XWB contract with Airbus, which gives us the goahead for the production phase, is of decisive importance to the future sustainability of our manufacturing site in Germany," declared Lutz Bertling, President and CEO of the Eurocopter Group. "It confirms our position as an experienced and highly skilled manufacturer of aircraft components, rather than merely as a leader in the helicopter business," he added. "It also confirms that our Center of Excellence for Airplane Door Systems is on the right track by shifting its focus from traditional metal structures to new manufacturing technologies based on composite materials."
More than 150 Eurocopter engineers have been involved in the conceptual design, development and preproduction phases of this project since it was launched in 1997. An estimated budget of nearly 1.5 billion euros has been set aside to cover the total expenditure on door systems for the planned family of A350 XWB aircraft, including work subcontracted to program partners in South Korea. It is a worthwhile investment, given that, once series production starts, it will secure up to 500 jobs in Donauwörth and the surrounding region. Delivery of the first door systems is scheduled for the end of 2010, initially for testing.
Parliamentary State Secretary and coordinator of the German federal government for the aerospace industry Peter Hintze congratulated Eurocopter on being selected as the sole supplier of all A350 XWB passenger and cargo doors, and hailed this as a clear signal to the aerospace industry that Germany intends to maintain its lead in this hightechnology sector. Hintze also stressed that, "as well as confirming Eurocopter's power in innovation, this contract will also secure a considerable number of jobs in Bavaria. Moreover, the company's achievements serve as an outstanding example of manufacturing excellence in Germany."
In total, Eurocopter has over 1,000 employees working on the development, production, and aftersales service of aircraft components.
About Airbus Helicopters
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world's No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group's products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.