Govt Denies Report of Helicopter Maker’s Rangoon Factory Plans

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 3 December 2013

RANGOON — Burma’s Department of Civil Aviation says there are no plans to allow a foreign helicopter company to open manufacturing operations in Rangoon, refuting a recent report by the local Yangon Times daily.

On Monday, the Yangon Times reported that US-based Robinson Helicopter Company was planning to open a factory in either Thanlyin or Mhawbi Township in Rangoon, with the daily quoting the purported local partner Htein Lin.

In the report, Htein Lin said the company would initially introduce its products to the local market, followed by the opening of showroom, with Robinson Helicopter then planning to start manufacturing choppers in Rangoon.

“We’ll introduce a double-seat helicopter in Rangoon first, and it will cost US$270,000,” Htein Lin told the Yangon Times.

Robinson Helicopter, based in Torrance, California, is the largest manufacturer of civil aviation helicopters in North America. The company produces three helicopter models as well as a modular helipad designed for light helicopters.

However, Tin Naing Tun, the director general of the Department of Civil Aviation, denied that any foreign helicopter company had inked an agreement with his department.

“If some foreign helicopter company wants to open a factory or to open a showroom or whatever, they will have to deal with us first as a matter of procedure. As of now, I do not have any deal with foreign companies,” Tin Naing Tun said.

“Even if foreign helicopter companies are interested in opening a factory, where is the demand in the local market?” he said.

The Yangon Times quoted Htein Lin as saying that Robinson Helicopter would reach out to government departments to extend its market reach and would help buyers find helicopter pilots and related spare parts if need be.