Honeywell Foresees ‘Stable’ Turbine Helicopter Market

Around 4,000 civil helicopter deliveries are expected in the next five years as North America leads the world in purchase expectations, according to Honeywell’s latest forecast.

Honeywell's latest turbine helicopter market forecast calls for modest industry growth in the next five years.Honeywell

As economic conditions continue to improve globally this year, buyers are holding firm to purchase expectations that should see between 4,000 and 4,200 new civil helicopters delivered in the next five years, according to Honeywell’s latest forecast released on the eve of Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, which opened its doors this morning.

In its latest “Turbine-powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook,” Honeywell foresees an increase of 5 to 10 percent over the more than the 3,800 civil helicopters delivered between 2013 and 2017. The numbers are generally in line with last year’s forecast.

The takeaway from the report is that companies plan to increase helicopter utilization in the near term, with rotorcraft fleet utilization expected to increase significantly in North America, which is home to more than 40 percent of the world’s helicopter fleet, and on a slightly slower pace in Europe and Latin America.

Overall, light, single-engine helicopters make up 48 percent of the purchase plans, followed by medium twins at 27 percent, light twins at 20 percent and large cabin multi-engine helicopters at 5 percent, with about a third of these sales expected in to occur in the next two years.

The oil and gas industry continues to lag purchase expectations with the price of oil remaining low, while EMS operators are planning major purchases to replace their aging fleets, said Gaetan Handfield, Honeywell’s senior manager of marketing analysis for the helicopter, business and general aviation markets. Medevac and search and rescue (SAR) helicopter purchase plans rose significantly, from 13 percent in last year’s survey to 22 percent this year, while oil and gas declined from 13 percent in 2017’s survey to 7 percent this year.

Hanfield also noted that sales of used helicopters have picked up recently as well, which he said bodes well for producers of new helicopters.