Last Tuesday in a bid to further open up Cambodia’s skies to commercial air traffic, Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia (AHSA) conducted their first demonstration flight of its H130 chopper in Phnom Penh to showcase the versatile capabilities of their light rotorcraft for both private and commercial operators in the Kingdom. The brief tour ferried passengers and members of the media over the capital starting at the Phnom Penh helipad of Helistar, one of two helicopter charter companies in Cambodia, near Pochentong International Airport to the lush gardens of Sofitel, landing at around 4pm.
The European-made H130 is a member of Airbus Helicopters’ renowned Ecureuil family, and is equipped with a powerful turbo shaft engine that builds on the design of the popular EC130 model, a popular aircraft which flies missions around the world.
The inside of the helicopter offers outstanding flexibility for operators due to its wide unobstructed, flat-floor cabin which can accommodate an array of equipment.
According to AHSA vice president, Lionel Sinai- Sinelnikoff, there are already five AHSA made civil helicopters in the country performing missions such as heli-tourism, passenger transport and private and business aviation. The five choppers are currently used by three companies that include Union Development Group in Koh Kong, and two transportation companies, Helicopter Cambodia and Helistar Cambodia.
Demand for such services is expected to grow significantly in the near future, said Sinai-Sinelnikoff, expecting that the current market forecasts an increase of two to three additional helicopters a year. The H130 brings Cambodian provinces and islands closer than ever, as popular Koh Rong Island can be reached in approximately one hour from Phnom Penh.
By not just tapping into Cambodia’s growing tourism market, Airbus believes the country’s infrastructural development can be boosted through the use of helicopters as aerial work for mining, construction of roads, railways and real estate, power lines and telecom towers inspection and maintenance can be carried out much more easily and efficiently. With its ability for a quick takeoff, the H130 is perfectly suited for missions in remote and hard to reach areas where traditional ground transportation is lacking.
“The H130 is a highly versatile helicopter which will provide a cost-efficient solution to meet the needs of this country, from infrastructural development, passenger transport to heli-tourism,” said Derek Sharples, Managing Director of AHSA. “Besides offering the right products, we also have the capability to provide a full suite of after sales support and services through our facilities situated in nearby Thailand and Singapore, ensuring high level of customer service.”
The H130 is a high-performance, multifunctional, single-engine helicopter that can accommodate one pilot and up to seven passengers. With its’ unevenly spaced blades and an enclosed tail fin that reduces outside noise by 50 per cent, the H130 is the quietest helicopters on the market. It provides an unprecedented level of comfort and visibility with a wide panoramic view. Integrating Airbus Helicopters’ latest technologies ensures the highest standard of safety and performance. The H130 represents the safest, most technologically advanced, yet economical solution within the single-engine helicopter category.
Airbus Helicopters is the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer. Established in 1997 in Singapore, AHSA is the training and technical hub for the ASEAN. AHSA handles sales and customer support across 15 countries in total, from as far away as Nepal to Timor-Leste. In 2014, AHSA achieved a record turnover of 140 million Euros. With a staff of more than 220 professionals, the company has developed a successful commercial network with its Singapore-based sales team, regional sales managers and technical representatives that service and maintain over 300 helicopters in the region.