Ponta: The confidence of UK’s RAF, a plus for other contracts


Eurocopter Romania marked its 10th anniversary with the completion of the first Royal Air Force’s Puma Mk2 helicopter upgraded by EC Romania, worth over EUR 10 M.

Eurocopter Romania, a world-leading Maintenance Repair and Overhaul service provider during its first decade of operations, celebrated its 10-year anniversary this month with the maiden flight of a Royal Air Force (RAF) Puma helicopter which is the first one upgraded at its Brasov (Romania) facility for the UK Ministry of Defence. The model costs over EUR 10 M, the manager of Eurocopter Romania and CEO of IAR Ghimbav company, Neculai Bancea told Nine O’Clock. The launching ceremony of the first Puma MK 2 upgraded was attended by PM Victor Ponta, the ambassadors of the UK, Martin Harris, and France, Philipe Gustin, and by Mircea Dusa, the minister of Administration and Interior.In his opening address, PM Ponta said that the 2002 move of forming a joint-venture between the Eurocopter group and IAR Ghimbav was one of the best decisions made by the executive of those years. “I wish that the government I lead will carry forward those good ideas of 2002 so it really exists here, in Brasov, at Ghimbav, an assembly line, for all those who have always considered IAR as representing one of the historic brands Romania is proud with,” the premier mentioned. Victor Ponta also voiced his satisfaction that the Ghimbav-based plant has become an important industrial centre within the Eurocopter group. “When the UK’s RAF has confidence in us, this is a plus of prestige that allows new contracts. If the UK supported this contract in Romania, it is legitimate for me to convince other countries that need helicopters to participate in such projects,” Victor Ponta added while in Ghimbav.The Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Martin Harris said on behalf of his country that the projects prove to be most satisfactory. “For the UK, this is a strategic project, because we improve the military abilities of the U.S and NATO,” Martin Harris stated.  Eurocopter has indeed a contract to upgrade 24 Pumas for the UK Ministry of Defence, of which 20 will be handled by Eurocopter Romania. “In a first phase, these will be used in Afghanistan,” Bancea added. According to market sources, the collaboration contract with the British Ministry of Defence is estimated at EUR 300 M.“In the first 10 years of existence, our Romanian operation has regularly demonstrated its ability to provide high-quality work and on-time deliveries, all while meeting the most demanding requirements of Eurocopter customers worldwide,” said Jean-Louis Mascle, the CEO of Eurocopter Romania.  He added for our newspaper that he chose Romania because he knew that he would find good competencies here. “We regularly send people from Romania to Germany, in order to train them about the new types of helicopters,” the CEO of Eurocopter Romania added. The first of these rotorcraft processed at Eurocopter Romania’s Brasov plant completed its initial flight last week, and is now undergoing flight testing before delivery in the coming weeks.In addition to the distribution of new Eurocopter helicopters to customers in Romania and neighbouring countries a significant MRO activity has been developed. The export activity represents 80 percent of the total MRO activity today.  Eurocopter Romania posted a turnover of 26 million euros in 2011, with a staff totalling 190 people.At the conclusion of the event, Premier Victor Ponta boarded the aircraft and flew for about ten minutes above Brasov and Ghimbav.

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