India is fastest growing
market for Bell Helicopter
Oct 22 (IANS) After taking 52 years to sell its first 100
choppers in India, Bell Helicopter expects to sell its next
100 in less than five years as the country has emerged as
an important market for the US company, a top official said.
"India is our fastest growing market in the whole world,"
said Bell's director of communications Greg Hubbard, who was
here for the civil aviation show last week.
we started our India office in 1995 we had only four percent
of the market share; today we enjoy 52 percent market share,"
Hubbard told IANS.
sold its first helicopter in India in 1956 and delivered its
100th commercial aircraft to leading Indian infrastructure
company Abir Infrastructure during the air show here.
have sold 17 helicopters in India this year, we expect to
sell 22 next year and we expect to sell our next 100th one
within five years," Hubbard said.
"In India our growth rate is 15-17 percent while it
is less than five percent in the US or Europe. Russia and
Brazil are also growing fast, but the growth rate is lower
than that in India," he said.
to the Bell executive, the global downturn has not affected
its India operations; nor does the company expect it to do
so in the future. "Unlike fixed wing aircraft, helicopters
are utility vehicles and demand will always be there."
Helicopter, which is a subsidiary of Texas-based $13.2 billion
multi-industry company Textron Inc, is also excited about
supplying military helicopters to India.
"We will bid for the Indian Army's 197 reconnaissance
and surveillance helicopter programme by end of December and
we are hopeful of bagging a large contract."
details of the Bell429 model that it unveiled at the air show,
Hubbard said the company had adopted a unique approach while
developing the model.
formed a panel of customers and asked them what features they
wanted and during the designing process they participated
in working out the trade-offs between various features,"
a result, we ended up developing a very flexible model that
can be easily customized. For example, it has a completely
flat floor that helps in customizing to meet specific needs
of customers," he said.
helicopter has a glass cockpit and digital controls designed
to meet the latest safety requirements and is very quiet,
about training institutes and maintenance, repair and overhaul
(MRO) centres that Bell is planning to set up in India, Hubbard
said: "We hope to select our Indian partners by early