BEIJING/SYDNEY, July 26 (Reuters) - China has granted
certification to the AC352 utility helicopter it is jointly
producing with Airbus, state media said on Tuesday,
even as the European planemaker awaits Beijing's nod to sell its
foreign-made equivalent in the Asian nation.
Developed by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
and Airbus, the AC352 is the locally produced variant of the
Airbus H175, which has been in service since 2015 outside China
and is designed to perform search and rescue, emergency medical
services and law enforcement missions.
A certification ceremony was held in Harbin on Tuesday, CCTV
The Airbus H175 has yet to gain entry into the Chinese
market, as it awaits validation from the Civil Aviation
Administration of China (CAAC).
Airbus announced in 2019 that China's Ministry of Transport
has decided to expand its medium class search and rescue
helicopter fleet with the H175, beginning with a deal for two
aircraft, but no regulatory approval has been forthcoming.
Industry sources told Reuters the entry of new foreign
products into China has been slow because CAAC, triggered by a
desire to learn and pass on the knowledge to its own
manufacturers, is taking a zero-risk approach due to elevated
geopolitical tensions between China and Western countries.
The Airbus A220 aircraft, a popular smaller narrowbody
model, and the Embraer E2 regional jet have not yet gained
Chinese certification after years of service abroad.
CAAC and Airbus did not respond immediately to requests for
AVIC and Airbus signed in 2014 a joint production agreement
for 1,000 AC352s.
The helicopter is powered by the turboshaft WZ16 engine,
developed by state-run engine-maker Aero Engine Corporation of
China and Safran Helicopter Engines. It was the first helicopter
engine certified by both Chinese and European authorities.
The Airbus H175 is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.
Domestically, the 90-seat ARJ21 regional jet, a rival to the
A220 and the Embraer E2, is ramping up production and deliveries
after receiving big orders from state-run Chinese airlines.
China is also in the process of certifying for use its C919
aircraft, the first homegrown narrowbody jet designed to
challenge Airbus and Boeing.
(Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney;
Additional reporting by Albee Zhang in Beijing; Editing by