EUROPEAN aircraft manufacturer Airbus said it has recently secured the first order for an ACH160 private helicopter from the Philippines.

The helicopter unit of the aerospace firm, Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH), said in a statement Monday the unnamed customer is the first to purchase the ACH160 from the Southeast Asia and Pacific region.

The helicopter is said to be used for private and business flights within the Philippines.

“Launching the ACH160 in Southeast Asia with a new Philippine customer underlines the global attractiveness of our corporate helicopters offering to meet the evolving travelling needs of our customers,” Frederic Lemos, head of ACH, said in the statement.

“We are equally excited to see our ACH products gaining good success in the growing Philippine private travel market,” he added.

The medium twin-engine helicopter with a maximum capacity of eight passengers is designed to function like a business-jet aircraft. It is scheduled to enter into service by next year.

Aside from the receipt of the helicopter, the deal with the Filipino customer covers the aircraft’s maintenance through HCare First, ACH’s premium support service.

ACH said last month Chinese firm Shenzhen Eastern General Aviation Co. also signed an agreement to order one unit of ACH160, making it the first customer in China for the VIP version of the helicopter. — Denise A. Valdez