India, The Hot Market For Heli's, Too

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Meanwhile, the global economy is growing, and that adds to the growing heli demand. Bell Helicopter plans to open a pilot training facility in India next year and will also start to offer fractional ownership plans there. "We expect the Indian market for helicopters to grow to $4.3 billion over the next 20 years, with 40 percent of the demand from the civilian sector," Bob Fitzpatrick, Bell's senior vice president for business development, told a group of Indian journalists who recently visited Bell's Texas facilities. Of the 120 helicopters now flying in India, 70 of them are Bell products. "This figure will grow to 81 aircraft by the first quarter of 2007, and we want to be aggressive in India as it is going to be a big market," Fitzpatrick said. India's Army Aviation Corps is ready to buy 197 helicopters, and Bell is competing with Eurocopter for the contract. Fitzpatrick said the training facility would be a joint venture with a local partner, but the selection has not yet been announced.