Bhutan witnessed the arrival of its first helicopter, an Airbus Helicopters H130, on 30 October 2015.
Multi-mission flexibility and eco-friendly characteristics of the H130 appeal to Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited, the country’s state-owned helicopter services provider
Airbus Helicopters continues the Airbus Group’s sole presence in Bhutan’s aviation scene
The Kingdom of Bhutan, Airbus Helicopters announced the arrival of the first H130, from the proven Ecureuil family, in the Kingdom of Bhutan. This is the first of two helicopters acquired by the Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited (RBHSL) to serve parapublic and commercial missions. The second H130 is expected to be delivered in June 2016.
“We are thrilled to be the first to receive the H130 in Bhutan,” said Mr Chewang Gyeltshen, CEO of the Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited, at the official launching ceremony yesterday in Paro, Bhutan. “Now, we have a helicopter proudly Bhutanese-owned, to serve our nation and boost our economy. We are confident that our newly-acquired helicopter will fulfil our different needs ranging from emergency missions, passenger transport to fire fighting.”
RBHSL’s H130s have been equipped with a tracking system, cargo sling, bambi bucket and stretcher to perform a wide range of parapublic missions, such as emergency medical services (EMS), fire fighting and disaster management. At the same time, the quick-role change capabilities allow the interior to be converted for VIP transport or for panoramic helitour flights.
The H130 is the quietest helicopter in the light single engine range and its low fuel consumption is key for the environmentally-conscious RBHSL. Extremely powerful, this helicopter offers the largest cabin in its category and has now added three new missions to its already wide range of mission capabilities: aerial work with a new 1,500 kg cargo hook, private transport with an elegant “Stylence” version and EMS, thanks to a “plug and play” new kit specially developed for the aircraft.
“Bhutan presents a new market for helicopters,” said Derek Sharples, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia. “We are honoured that Airbus Helicopters is given the great opportunity to provide the Kingdom’s first helicopter. We are committed to ensuring full support and comprehensive services to RBHSL in this new market for the years to come.”
Prior to Airbus Helicopters’ entry, Airbus Group has long established a strong and unique presence in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Its current aircraft fleet includes one ATR 42-500 and six A319s, operated by Bhutan’s national carriers, Druk Air and the privately owned Bhutan Airlines.
“This is also an important milestone for our company,” added Mr. Sharples. “We are delighted to gain the confidence and trust from Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited, as well as continuing the legacy of Airbus’ presence in Bhutan.”
Currently, more than 5,500 Ecureuil helicopters are delivered and in operation, clocking more than 23 million hours of flight time.
About Royal Bhutan Helicopters Services Limited
Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited (RBHSL) is newly-created in September 2015. This is a state-owned company and its core mission is to provide helicopter assistance to the population of the Kingdom of Bhutan. With a starting strength of 20 experienced aviation professionals to kickstart operations, RBHSL is set to become the main and trusted provider for helicopter services in the Kingdom of Bhutan. RBHSL is based in Paro International Airport.
About Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters is a division of Airbus Group. The company provides the most efficient civil and military helicopter solutions to its customers who serve, protect, save lives and safely carry passengers in highly demanding environments. Flying more than 3 million flight hours per year, the company’s in-service fleet includes some 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in 152 countries. Airbus Helicopters employs more than 23,000 people worldwide and in 2014 generated revenues of 6.5 billion Euros. In line with the company’s new identity, fully integrated into Airbus Group, Airbus Helicopters has renamed its product range replacing the former “EC” designation with an “H”.