The global demand for civilian helicopters will be steady over the next five years, with 4 800-5 500 new rotorcraft to be delivered between now and 2018, according to a new report.
Overall demand remains steady versus the 2013 five-year forecast, with large fleet operator requirements offsetting a moderate softening in new helicopter purchase plans, according to Honeywell’s Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook. Latin America continues to lead all regions in new purchase rates, with up to 32 percent of respondent fleets slated for turnover with a new helicopter replacement or addition.
The forecast of civil turbine-powered helicopter purchases has the five-year share of demand from the U.S. and Canada at 26 percent, which combined with Latin America represents 50 percent of the total global demand. Europe’s share closely follows with 23 percent, with the Asia-Oceania region accounting for 19 percent, and Africa and the Middle East ranking under 8 percent.
“Global demand looks sturdy on the heels of strong 2013 performance,” said Tom Hart, vice president, defense and space sales, Honeywell Aerospace. “Utility helicopter purchase interest is trending upward. Helicopter replacement cycles and increased operating hours in the law enforcement and oil & gas industries helps sustain demand in those sectors. Several new platforms are scheduled to enter service in the next few years and this also is expected to bolster overall demand.”
Operators who intend to purchase a helicopter within the next five years noted that the age of their current aircraft, contracted replacement cycle and warranty expiration were key drivers for their decision. For those surveyed, the make and model choice for their new aircraft is strongly influenced by range, cabin size, reliability and safety, hot/high performance, and brand experience.
Moderately lower survey purchase plans were recorded in all regions this year; however large fleet or “mega” operator requirements not captured in the survey offset the softer results returned by survey respondents, Honeywell said. As a result, total projected demand remains stable at relatively strong levels in the near term.
A significant part of the European pullback stems from a large drop in Russian buying plans compared with a year ago. The sample of Russian operators responding grew in 2013, but remains small and adds some volatility to the overall European results.
Latin America continues to have the highest fleet replacement and growth expectations among the regions. In terms of projected regional demand for new helicopters, Latin America now rivals Europe to claim the world’s second-largest regional market, behind North America.
“With demand for new helicopters remaining steady, and aircraft lasting longer through replacement cycles, Honeywell is ready to support both new installations and fleet upgrades worldwide,” Hart said. “Our propulsion, safety, navigation, communications and flight services can help aircraft stay efficient, powerful, reliable and safe throughout their entire time in the air.”
Demand in high-growth regions remains fluid with strong results recorded for China in the 2014 survey, while Brazilian purchase plans remained fairly stable and Indian respondents reported more conservative purchase plan levels for new helicopters this year.