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