The EC135 by Hermès

The partnership with Hermès, the internationally renowned specialist in luxury goods, opens up new horizons for Eurocopter on the corporate and private market.

© Eurocopter / Dominique Orbec
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A very high level of quality and finishing for the EC135 by Hermès which was exhibited at the NBAA business aviation convention in September.

The EC135 by Hermès was the star of the NBAA’s (National Business Aviation Association) 2007 Convention at the end of September in Atlanta. Exhibited on a showcase stand, the EC135 designed in partnership with Hermès provoked a great deal of curiosity and admiration.
But let this be clear: the restyling of the most widely-sold helicopter in its category by the world’s most prestigious luxury goods brand is not a publicity stunt. This helicopter is the end result of a genuine partnership between Eurocopter and Hermès and was based on several factors with, first of all, the emergence of an upmarket clientele that is very discerning about luxury brands. These days, the luxury goods industry is extremely dynamic, and there was an opportunity here for Eurocopter. Hermès was selected because of its international renown and its master craftsmanship, which guarantees a very high level of manufacturing quality. So, this isn’t just about glamour? “No, we are working with Hermès on a long-term basis,” affirms Patrice Royer, the key segment manager (KSM) for corporate and commercial business at Eurocopter. “Furthermore, Markus Steinke, the EC135 programme director, is a visionary with a clear strategy: beyond the traditional EMS, law enforcement and oil & gas markets, he wanted to make more incisive inroads into the corporate and private market. To achieve this, he needed a ground-breaking strategy and this is exactly what our new partner provides.”

An eye for detail
Eurocopter and Hermès first made contact in April 2006. The ambition of the Eurocopter and Hermès teams was to redefine helicopter travel in terms of comfort and elegance. In June 2007, Hermès and its designer presented a draft project, which Eurocopter immediately approved. Both partners then had less than three months to apply it to the production aircraft due to be exhibited in Atlanta. The landing gear of the aircraft that was presented at the NBAA Convention was redesigned to enhance the profile of the helicopter elegantly, while making it easier to access the cabin. A Hermès customer is also very responsive to detail and this is where the aircraft has the greatest number of innovations, such as new door handles, coverings for the flight controls and a completely remodelled interior, which is divided into three distinct spaces: the cockpit, the passenger cabin (the two spaces are separated by a partially glazed partition) and a padded baggage compartment. Nothing is left to chance, and even the air conditioning ducts inside the helicopter have been moved to preserve the symmetry of the cabin.
The EC135 by Hermès will be offered in several colour schemes and aircraft have already been reserved on the production line. The EC135 is an aircraft that offers a very high level of quality and finishing. The partnership with Hermès will enhance Eurocopter’s image on the top-of-the-range market by developing an overall strategy. In addition to the EC135, Eurocopter is now looking at the possibility of working on other aircraft in our range.

© Eurocopter / G.Deulin
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© Eurocopter / G.Deulin
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Why did Hermès I.D. decide to enter into this partnership?
François Taverne: We were looking for new opportunities through the continuation of our work into the personalisation of different spaces, be it the design of offices, apartments or yachts, or business planes or cars. So, we thought, why not helicopters? But we wanted to be directly involved with a manufacturer. For us, this would be a guarantee of seriousness and skill. After a cautious approach from both sides, Eurocopter was brave enough to give us a free hand on the EC135 project.

Why Eurocopter and not another helicopter manufacturer?
F. T.: We only wanted to team up with the best in the world, the most technically advanced company in the industry, and Eurocopter fitted the bill. Hermès and Eurocopter cannot be compared in terms of the technological aspect of their work, but they do share the same need to attain the highest standards of quality.

How do you see the future of this partnership?
F. T.: Eurocopter and Hermès I.D. are building a long-term relationship. This is not a media stunt nor a communication plan designed to take advantage of a prestigious name. We have signed an exclusive five-year contract with Eurocopter and anticipate sales of several dozen EC135s by Hermès. What happens next will depend on the success of this first aircraft, but we already have other projects in the pipeline. My dream is for us to still be working with Eurocopter in ten years’ time.

© Eurocopter / G.Deulin
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