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Airbus Helicopter Eyes Greater Share of Malaysian Market

Airbus Helicopters is looking to increase its share in Malaysia over the next five years particularly on the military helicopter market.

Airbus Helicopters Malaysia managing director Axel de Pascal said Malaysia is an important market for the company with a presence here for the past 20 years.

Airbus Helicopters, he added, expects an uptick in military demand for special operations, search-and-rescue (SAR) and tactical transport in the country and regionally.

This is where Airbus's combat-proven multi-role H225M model helicopter is best suited for a wide range of mission requirements, he said.

To date, he said Airbus Helicopters has roughly 50 per cent market share out of 190 helicopters flying in Malaysia.

"We have been here (in Malaysia) for 20 years. We are there to answer and propose our products in which we believe that they are providing the best value for money in terms of operations, in terms of recurring costs," de Pascal said at a media briefing here today.

He said the H225M is contracted to 10 military forces worldwide with over 170 units delivered, more than 40 units on order and another 50 units supporting governmental agencies on search-and-rescue (SAR) missions. 

Four of the 10 H225M military customers are in Asia Pacific including Malaysia. 

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) currently operates 12 H225M at its base in Kuantan and Labuan. 

The RMAF's H225M fleet has been recognized as the world's highest military flyer per aircraft, achieving more than 30,000 flight hours today.

De Pascal said Malaysia is already very familiar with the H225M capabilities and will be able to benefit from a common fleet with immediate operational readiness and reduced operational costs.

Airbus Helicopters is ready to put forth its H225M for the RMAF's consideration when the time comes.

Under 2024 Budget, funding has been allocated for RMAF to acquire 12 helicopters.

In December 2023, RMAF announced that the procurement of the new helicopters would be made through an open tender process by early 2024.

"We're confident that the additional H225M will complement RMAF's existing fleet. With a ready ecosystem in place, any additional asset will result in considerable increase in efficiency for the air force at all levels," de Pascal said.

He did not comment on the possibility that Airbus helicopters could be selected as an additional fleet for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

He, however, said the European helicopter manufacturer is always ready to meet the requirements needed by the country. 

"I cannot comment on the government's decision to select the type of helicopter. What I can say is that wherever there's a requirement expressed by the Malaysian government, we are there.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on Monday said MMEA would receive four new helicopters worth RM600 million once the ministry finalizes the purchase of these aircraft. 

Saifuddin said the next step is to visit the premises of the shortlisted helicopter manufacturing companies before making a decision.


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