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Poor economy drives Russia’s helicopter imports down

Foreign-made helicopter deliveries to Russia shrank significantly last year due to the difficult economic situation in the country. According to the HeliRussia 2016 organizers, only 37 rotorcraft were imported in 2015, the lowest figure since 2009 when 48 deliveries were made. Helicopter imports peaked in 2013 with 145 units followed by 121 deliveries in 2014. Deliveries of the US Robinson light rotorcraft family were the hardest hit in 2015: only 11 got delivered, compared to 86 in 2014, a possible indication that the economic crisis primarily affected general aviation. On the other hand, seeing as 86 Robinsons were delivered in 2013, and in the preceding two years the company would annually deliver in excess of 60 aircraft to Russia, it is possible that the local market has reached a temporary saturation point, which also contributed to the 2015 trough. Other global manufacturers also saw their delivery rates to Russia slow down. Airbus Helicopters delivered 11 aircraft, against 22 in 2014 and 31 in 2013. Leonardo Helicopters (ex-AgustaWestand) delivered four (against eight in 2014 and 19 in 2013). Two more of the manufacturer’s helicopters for Russia, both of the AW139 type, were locally assembled at the HeliVert joint venture between parent Leonardo and Russian Helicopters. US manufacturer Bell Helicopter, for its part, delivered 11 aircraft to Russian customers in 2015, or three more than the previous year and two more than in 2013

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