Eurocopter, October 20, 2003 - The only helicopter manufacturer installed in Brazil and Latin America’s only Eurocopter assembly plant, Helibras was founded in 1978 in São José dos Campos, in São Paulo’s country area, with a pre-operating phase in G.T.A’s hangar. The company was created based on a project developed by French company Aerospatiale, meeting a request made by the Brazilian Government.
In 1979, the Brazilian Government recognized the company as being of national interest. On March 28th 1980, Helibras’ plant located in Itajubá, south of Minas Gerais, was opened with the attendance of federal and state authorities. Currently with 14 thousand square meters of construction area, the unit is in charge of the assembly, sales and after-sales of the Eurocopter helicopters in Brazil.
Four years after the plant’s opening in Itajubá, a contract established between the Brazilian Air Force and Aerospatiale guarantees the supply of 13 Super Puma helicopters (medium heavy), 22 single turbine Esquilo models industrialized in Helibras, and 36 double-turbine Esquilo models
In 1988, the Aerospatiale / Helibras / Engesa consortium wins the international bid to supply to the Brazilian Army 36 Panther helicopters and 16 Esquilo helicopters, followed by another 20 Esquilo helicopters. Three years later, in 1991, the company promotes its first capital restructuring, which was kept until today, with the entry of a new partner, Bueninvest. In the same year, Helibras decides to transfer its commercial department to São Paulo. This year also marks the delivery by Helibras of its 200th aircraft to the Brazilian market.
In 1992, the Eurocopter company is created in France, as a result of the merger between Aerospatiale’s and Daimler Benz’ helicopter divisions. The company then becomes the new Helibras head office, one of the four subsidiaries consolidated in the Group.
In 1998, when the company celebrated its 20th anniversary, it inaugurates its hangar facilities in Campo de Marte, São Paulo, where the company’s commercial department, spare parts warehouse and maintenance workshop are currently located in a 3.8 thousand square-meter complex, allowing the company to offer exclusive services with higher efficiency to support the fleet operating in the region.
In 1999, Helibras celebrates the delivery, in the Brazilian market, of its 400th helicopter. Last year, the company delivers the first Cougar to the Brazilian Army, and prepares for mechanical intervention in the Dauphin, while expanding the capacity of the workshops aimed at the EC 120’s and EC 135’s maintenance.
The company currently has a base at the Jacarepaguá Airport, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, to support the region’s customers. Helibras’ services and customer care structures allow the company to offer full support and maximum availability to its customers’ aircrafts throughout Brazil and also in Latin America.
Helibras also provides operators with full technical guidance. In the training center located in Itajubá, over 60 different programs are offered to the customer for training and recycling pilots, technicians and mechanics. Since its creation, Helibras has already produced and delivered to the market more than 460 aircrafts. Today, out of Brazil’s 840 turbine-driven helicopter fleet, 392 are Helibras models, whose quality is also proven by South American countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Venezuela.
The range of products currently commercialized by Helibras includes Colibri EC 120, all the Esquilo (AS 350 e AS 355) family, models EC 130, EC 135, EC 145 and BK 117, Dauphin AS 365, EC 155 and the Super Puma family, both in the civil versions and in the military configurations.
Presently, Helibras has its ownership structure divided into Minas Gerais’ MGI Participações Industriais, Grupo Bueninvest and Eurocopter.
Holding 45% of Helibras’ voting shares and 76.5% of the total capital, the Eurocopter Group – the world’s leader in helicopter sales – is present in five continents, with 15 subsidiaries. It has 10 thousand collaborators, with over 1,700 customers in 130 countries, covering 85% of the world market’s demand. In 2002, it presented gross sales of more than 2.5 billion Euros, or 12% more relative to the same period in 2001. These gross sales results include the customer care services, research and development activities and delivery of 367 helicopters. The Eurocopter Group belongs to EADS, the world’s second largest company in the airspace and defense industry.
Eurocopter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EADS. EADS is the second largest aerospace and defence company in the world with revenues of € 29.9 billion in the year 2002 and a workforce of more than 100,000. It is a systems integrator and as such one of the few companies worldwide capable of combining various products and technologies to form complete systems. EADS is a market leader in civil aeronautics, defence and security technology, helicopters, launchers, satellites, military transport and combat aircraft and the associated services. The company has over 70 sites in France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain and is active in many regions worldwide, amongst them America, Russia and Asia.