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BUSINESS

Bell sees huge potential for Bell 505 helicopter in Southeast Asia

15/08/2022 02:34 PM

By Siti Radziah Hamzah

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 (Bernama) -- US-based commercial and military helicopter manufacturer Bell Textron Asia Pte Ltd sees huge potential for its Bell 505 helicopter in Southeast Asia.

Bell regional sales manager Benjamin Ji said the US-based commercial and military helicopter manufacturer had experienced growth in the ASEAN market, especially in the last two years. 

“During the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just when we thought things were going to slow down specifically in the private owners’ segment, we have seen a spike in demand.

“People started to choose to travel in a more private setting and we have seen that in the region, (countries like) the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand (demand) are all picking up,” he told Bernama in an interview recently. 

Ji said the company has also seen more interest in the aircraft due to the rise in enquiries for Bell 505, especially in Malaysia.   

The first Bell 505 was delivered in 2017, and today, there are 400 aircraft operating on six different continents. The Bell 505 is one of the company’s fastest-growing products for corporate and private individual markets.

Ji pointed out that the potential for Bell 505 is huge as it does very well in two segments, namely the corporate and private individuals as well as military and government agencies.

“This aircraft is doing very well for military training. Recently, the South Korean army has ordered 40 of our Bell 505 for their training and likewise, Japan’s Coast Guard has also adopted the Bell 505 platform,” he added.  

Comparative to the Western region for Bell 505 aircraft, Ji said the Western region was a much more mature market for helicopters while the Southeast Asian region was fragmented in a way as the countries were governed by specific aviation authorities in their respective countries. 

“It is not so easily adopted into this region as each country has its own compliance and that is a little hurdle that we are trying to facilitate all the time for our customers. But the Bell 505 has gotten validation throughout Southeast Asia.

“In the region, the private customers' segment is picking up. I think it is a matter of awareness and people are starting to think of a better way to travel and Southeast Asia has so many islands,” he pointed out.

Ji noted that the tourism industry has creative ways to attract clients to resorts and enhanced the experience. 

“We are looking at the trend whereby customers are outside of the aviation industry. A lot of first entrance customers who do not have any aviation experience nor own any aircraft before are now looking to venture into it,” he added.

-- BERNAMA


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