Airbus will soon control more than 50 percent of China’s helicopter market, payoff for one of several multibillion dollar deals inked today with China’s leading aircraft manufacturer and the country’s central purchasing agency. The biggest deal is a 10-year agreement for 43 A320 jets and 27 A330 jets that totals $10.2 billion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Airbus Group NV will partner with China’s Avicopter to build 1,000 model EC175 helicopters over the next 20 years. The two companies have already spent almost $828 million in developing the 18-passenger helicopter that will be used for search-and-rescue missions, emergency services, and offshore-crew transportation. The helicopters—called AC352s in China—will be manufactured at Marignane, in southern France, and in Harbin, China. It is still unclear how much the 1,000-helicopter deal is worth.

The $10.2 billion deal falls short of the $20 billion, 150-jet purchase that Reuters reported on March 19, but Airbus head Fabrice Bregier is positive about his firm’s future in China. The current deal not only covers the purchase of 43 A320 jets, but it also formally unblocks a previous agreement for 27 A330s and extends production of A320 planes in Airbus’ Tianjin facility for 10 years through 2025.

Posted by Catherine Matacic