Heli-Expo 2014 Shows Strong Helicopter Market

Attendance numbers indicate a growing market.

Heli-Expo 2014 Raider

Heli-Expo 2014 Raider

** Heli-Expo 2014**

Heli-Expo closed the doors of the Anaheim Convention Center last week with strong attendance numbers and many contracts closed for the OEMs that had helicopters on display. With a total of 19,038 attendees at this year's Heli-Expo, the show attendance was down by about 1,000 from last year's record numbers, but despite this slight drop the helicopter market appears to be on a positive path.

The Honeywell forecast for civilian turbine helicopter deliveries, which is based on surveys of more than 1,000 operators worldwide, was released in conjunction with the show and all indications are for a strong, stable trend in the helicopter market. Honeywell is forecasting 4,800 to 5,500 civilian turbine helicopter deliveries in the next five years. On an average, this is a slight increase over "a very strong 2013 performance in which we counted about 1,000 turbine helicopter deliveries," said Charles Park, Honeywell's market analysis director. "That's pretty good after the low point after the recession."

And if this year's Heli-Expo show is any indication, it appears the strong market demand forecast by Honeywell is on track. With several new helicopters unveiled at the show, many new contracts were added to the order books. Bell Helicopters closed out the first day with more than 100 signings, mostly for the new light 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter, which was announced that day. As of this time, Bell is still finalizing the total number of orders for the show.

Newly rebranded Airbus Helicopters also had a strong show with 78 total orders. AgustaWestland, which unveiled the AW109 Trekker at the show, signed 32 orders, although none of those orders was for the new helicopter design.

Enstrom's new product announcement created "much more interest than we expected at the show," said the company's director of sales and marketing Orlando Alaniz. While he would not disclose any numbers, Alaniz said the company took "launch customer orders" for the new TH180 trainer.

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