The Cuban government is negotiating with the Russian Helicopters Holding Company the creation of a repair-and-maintenance center in Havana, the Russian media reported on Monday (Nov. 2).
The center will be based at the aircraft repair plant Yuri Gagarin, southwest of the city, and will service helicopters now flying in Cuba and other Latin American countries. Initially, it will handle Mi8/17 copters (seen in photo at top).
According to a press release from Russian Helicopters, Latin America is utilizing more than 400 Russian copters, 320 of which are model Mi8/17. Cuba owns 60 copters of Soviet and Russian production, about 50 of which are Mi8/17.
State-owned Russian Helicopters is the only developer and manufacturer of civilian and military helicopters in Russia. Formed in 2007, the company operates five copter plants, two design bureaus and several factories for the manufacture of components for after-sales support.
Clients of Russian Helicopters include the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian Interior Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry, other government agencies, and several aircraft companies, including Gazprom AVIA and UTair.
The contract between Russian Helicopters and Havana provides for the Russian company to arrange for “the technological re-equipment of the [Gagarin] plant and its authorization as a company eligible for the repair and maintenance” of Soviet-made and Russian-made copters.
[For background in Progreso Weekly on aircraft-related negotiations, click here.]
This week, Russian Helicopters will be displaying its Mi38 model at the 33rd Havana International Fair (FIHAV-2015), one of the most significant regional trade shows in Latin America, showcasing the latest technological achievements from numerous countries.
The Yuri Gagarin aircraft plant is named after the world’s first astronaut, who visited Cuba in July 1961, three months after his space flight, and was given a triumphant welcome by Fidel Castro and the Cuban people.