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ACH160 & ACH175 on Display at EBACE2024

Issue 23 - 2024
ACH160 & ACH175 on Display at EBACE2024

Some of the world’s most advanced, efficient and cutting-edge business aircraft, along with the Airbus Airbus Helicopters ACH160 and ACH175 will be on display at the 2024 edition of European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2024), taking place 28-30 May at Palexpo and Geneva Airport (GVA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the EBACE website, the Airbus Corporate Helicopters’ ACH175 will be displayed at Geneva International Airport, whereas the show floor will feature the ACH160 Helicopter, which is, billed by its manufacturer as the “quintessential ultimate helicopter.”  

During recent years Airbus Helicopters has announcement of several new orders for the H160 Helicopter and the continued evolution of its high-end, bespoke brand, Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH), which it launched in 2017 at EBACE2017. Build on Airbus Helicopters’ leadership in the Private and Business Aviation market, the ACH is offering a unique level of quality finish, craftsmanship and bespoke service matching the most demanding requirements.

The ACH provides an exclusive platform from which customers can benefit from best in class products, tailored completion and service. Mirroring the successful sister brand Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ), ACH will provide current and future customers an end-to-end exclusive ownership experience ranging from advice helping customers to choose the right aircraft and design a bespoke style. ACH’s offering, supported by a bespoke service to help tailor the most demanding customer requirements, comes in three different product lines:

• ACH Line: Based on Airbus Corporate Helicopters’ in-house style concept, this interior cabin line is the perfect response for those looking for a light and efficient design. Clean lines and spare style.

• ACH Exclusive: This interior line responds to those looking for a truly exclusive environment with the highest standards of refinement, luxury and comfort.

• ACH Editions: A portfolio of Airbus Corporate Helicopters special collaborations and partnerships with luxury brands and designers, ranging from Hermes to Mercedes Benz and including designs by world-renown designer Peder EIDSGAARD.

All helicopter types manufactured by Airbus Helicopter could be ordered in an ACH configuration with type designations: ACH130, ACH135, ACH145, ACH160 and ACH175.

In 2023, Airbus Helicopters logged 410 gross orders, highlighting a steady market recovery with a strong performance this year for the light twin and medium twin helicopters. Orders came from 179 customers in 47 countries. Airbus Helicopters delivered 346 helicopters in 2023, resulting in a preliminary 54% share of the civil and parapublic market. 

To be displayed at EBACE2024 the ACH160 is the premium version of the new H160 Helicopter, a medium-twin helicopter received EASA certification on July 1, 2020.  Airbus already has received several large fleet orders for the H160. In April 2023, the Company signed a contract with China’s GDAT, one of China’s most prominent helicopter lessors and operators, for 50 H160 Helicopters. Valued at more than $700 Million this contract is the largest single order for the H160 on the civil and parapublic market since the helicopter was unveiled in 2015. Airbus Helicopters secured orders for 26 H160s in 2023, and delivered 20, including the first delivery of an ACH160 Exclusive. In March 2023, Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH), delivered the first ACH160 Exclusive Helicopter to a private customer in France. For executive and VIP ACH160 customers, Airbus has designed a variety of configurations. During 2023, ACH, secured orders for the ACH160 Helicopter from Saudi Arabia’s The Helicopter Company (THC), Air Corporate in Italy, and two customers in India. As of April, 2024 there are 28 H160s in the service around the world, with configurations now developed for every operating sector targeted by the OEM. The type has recorded over 4,000 flight hours across its global fleet. Earlier this year, Airbus confirmed a backlog of over 110 orders for the type. The Company’s focus is now on reducing the lead time for deliveries. In this context, Airbus Helicopters is targeting a production rate of 40 H160s per year by 2026. This would represent a doubling of output compared with 2023.

Orders for the H160M — the military version of the type — represent 30 of the aircraft in the backlog, and Airbus is continuing development work on the “M” program. According to Jérôme RONSSIN, Head of Airbus’ Light Helicopter Program, 2023 saw Airbus’ largest number of light helicopter deliveries in the past 10 years. On May 25, 2023, the concluding day of EBACE2023, leading Italian business aviation operator Air Corporate placed a firm order for 43 helicopters including 40 single-engine helicopters (H125/H130) which, depending on its decision at a later date, could be outfitted as VIP ACH125/ACH130s and three ACH160 Helicopters (VIP/business configuration of the H160) from Airbus Corporate Helicopters in Line configuration with the Lounge package to add to two ACH160s already on order.

The multirole, 12-passenger (four to eight in executive configuration) H160 features multiple innovations that Airbus has brought to market in recent years. These include a canted fenestron to improve performance and stability with larger payloads, Blue Edge main rotor blades that should cut noise by up to 50% and the new Helionix avionics with safety features that include accrued pilot assistance and flight envelope protection. The aircraft is powered by a pair of 1,300-shp Safran Arrano 1A Turboshaft Engines that incorporate variable inlet guide vanes to cut fuel consumption by 15%. According to Airbus, the intermediate-twin helicopter features 20 percent more cabin volume per passenger and 35 percent larger windows than legacy helicopters in its class. It makes extensive use of carbon-fiber composites in the fuselage and main rotor blades that enhance corrosion resistance, especially in maritime operations. The H160 has an estimated maximum cruise speed of 150 knots, a 20,000ft service ceiling, and a 475nm range (no reserve, standard tanks). In April 2024, Airbus Helicopters has announced a reduction in the official empty weight of its new medium H160 as well as reduced fuel consumption figures, which together will provide operators with an increase of 60nm (110 kilometers) of range or 100kg (220 pounds) of additional payload.

Meanwhile, Airbus is looking to diversify the market for its H175 super-medium-twin in part by seeking framework agreements with operators covering both firm orders and options. The ACH is now experiencing stronger demand for the H175, than the 14 helicopters booked in 2023 might indicate. As of February 2024 there are 56 H175s in service. In 2023 this fleet logged 40,800 flight hours, taking the total above 210,000 hours, with the fleet leader accounting for 9,500 of these hours. To cope with booming offshore demand Airbus Helicopters has already started preparations to raise its production rate of the H175 to 15-20 units per year and is now targeting to quadrupled its output by 2026.

Primarily designed to support the oil and gas industry in the super medium class (7 tons) the H175 was jointly developed by Airbus Helicopters and Chinese AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation). Launched in 2008, the H175 completed its first flight on December 17, 2009, prior to entering service in December 2014 with Belgian operator NHV for offshore oil & gas operations in the north-sea. The H175 is powered by two FADEC controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E Turboshaft Engines where the Chinese built helicopters are powered by a Joint Safran/AVIC co-developed Ardiden 3C/WZ16 engines. The H175 flight deck features the Helionix avionics suite with a total of four 10-inch multifunctional displays. The highly customized avionics largely benefit from Airbus Helicopter in-house avionics expertise. The H175 cabin is designed to accommodate up to 18 passengers in an oil and gas typical application. This large cabin can be configured with 6 to 12 VIP seats on a corporate layout configuration. The interior of the H175 is one of the most luxurious, spacious, and exclusive offerings, providing a jet-like experience and outstanding comfort in a business helicopter. Thanks to a wide spectrum of noise & vibration damping technologies, the H175 is able to offer very low vibration and sound levels even at high cruise speeds, contributing to the smooth flight experience 

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