As a business traveller, chances are you’ve flown on plenty of planes manufactured by Airbus – their popularity around the world means that there’s over 10,000 Airbus jets currently in operation with every major airline.
However, the European company also does a fine line in helicopters through the Airbus Corporate Helicopters brand.
New to Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, Airbus Corporate Helicopters offers a range of helicopters for premium private and business use, from small helicopters for quick hops to larger, more luxuriously kitted-out models for groups or longer trips.
While Airbus has already sold helicopters to the Australian market in the past, the new Airbus Corporate Helicopters brand aims to provide corporations and high net worth individuals a fully managed end-to-end service with HCare First – a premium support service aimed directly at those clients with low flight-hours but who demand worry-free aircraft availability when required.
Airbus says customers find helicopter availability an advantage in both business and leisure settings – whether it’s making an emergency meeting, dealing with back-to-back obligations, or simply saving time on the ground in major cities, access to a helicopter give you the speed of air travel without the inconvenience of having to travel to or from an airport.
The Airbus Corporate Helicopters range
The ACH family consists of six models, spanning from the compact ACH125, ACH130 and ACH135 (pictured below at the Melbourne media launch attended by Australian Business Traveller) to the ACH145, ACH160 and 'super medium-class' ACH175.
As the flagship of the Airbus Corporate Helicopters range, the ACH175 seats up to 10 passengers with flying time up to 4.5 hours and a maximum cruising speed of 155 knots.
The swanky interior is fitted out with soft carpets, luxurious leather seating and a bevy of customisation options, from the exterior paint colours to the stitching of the leather seats.
Airbus offers buyers a personalisation program called ‘ACH Line’ for all of its models. This is built around an interior cabin concept inspired by sports car design, with the focus on maximising comfort and functionality in a stylish package.
For the larger ACH160 and ACH175 variants, options from the ‘ACH Exclusive’ range allow you to tailor the interior and exterior with luxurious bespoke details.
Lastly, the ‘ACH Editions’ range capitalises on partnerships with luxury brands and designers such as Hermes and Mercedes-Benz to add highly distinctive touches to individual cabins.
When it comes to the interior layout, there’s also plenty of customisation available – you can opt for three-across bench seating, individual seats or a combination of the two for optimum comfort and passenger load. A single person can also adjust the on-rails seating layout, giving you flexibility.
Airbus Corporate Helicopters maintains an exclusive clientele, with Australian sales expected to remain in the single digits on an annual basis. Even globally, the Airbus Corporate Helicopters range does not reach the triple digits in terms of sales, making this a very exclusive club.
Sid Raja travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Airbus Corporate Helicopters