Kazakhstan 2018 | TRANSPORT | COLUMN

TBY talks to Alexandre Quemeneur , CEO, Airbus Helicopters Kazakhstan, on the sector.

Alexandre Quemeneur

What was the political process behind the decision to establish Eurocopter Kazakhstan Engineering (ECKE)?

This project started in 2011 as a joint venture between Airbus Helicopter and Kazakhstan Engineering National Company to create a helicopter industry in Kazakhstan, which would gradually grow to supply the surrounding region through an initial project to produce, assemble, and sell 45 EC145 helicopters. After three years, we delivered 26 helicopters, eight to the Ministry of Defense and 18 to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Due to the regional economic crisis, the project has been put on standby, though the company is still focusing on support and services rather than manufacturing.

Do you intend for Kazakhstan to be a major supplier of Airbus helicopters in the region?

Our five-year ambition is to transform Kazakhstan into a regional hub. Kazakhstan is well positioned geographically. Secondly, there is a Customs Union between Russia and Kazakhstan, which has significantly opened doors for us. Astana recently granted us a special investment contract that ensures we will not have any import taxes on our product, a fantastic competitive advantage.