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Airbus ‘convinced proper structures in place' to improve NH90 user experience, concedes results not yet showing

NHI has sold 597 NH90s to 14 different customers, including most lately Qatar (pictured). While the programme has been a success in terms of sales, some customers have complained of poor availability in particular. (NHIndustries)

Airbus is convinced it has the proper structures in place to enhance the user experience of the NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 helicopter, although the results have not yet manifested themselves, a senior official said on 17 March.

Speaking at the handover of the 500th NH90 to the international programme, Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even told Janes and other defence media that measures that have been drafted should see the desired improvement in availability levels in particular, but that these are not yet coming through.

“Although the NH90 has widely demonstrated its effectiveness, it has suffered from availability problems. I must recognise that, and that despite all the efforts made we are not there yet,” Even said at Airbus Helicopters' Marignane plant and site of the company's NH90 final assembly line (FAL) in southern France. “I am aware of the expectation and sometimes the frustration, but I am convinced that the actions we have implemented in the New Horizons transformation plan over the last two years, as well as the additional initiatives, will pay off soon.”

First reported by Janes in May 2022, the New Horizons framework was launched in 2021 by NHI as a means of turning around the poor availability figures that had been experienced across the helicopter's 14 national customers. It was built around 22 initiatives related to product support, scheduling, vendor management, supply chain resilience and capacity, retrofits, commercial operations, and the wider organisation.

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