Demand for new helicopters strong

Honeywell releases five-year forecast

March 3, 2014

The helicopter industry remains strong, with demand coming from all over the world. That’s the conclusion of Honeywell’s annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook, released in connection with the recent Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

Honeywell expects demand for 4,800 to 5,500 new helicopters in the next five years, with the majority of the orders coming from Latin America. The company says more than 30 percent of those surveyed in the region said they plan to replace their fleet in that timeframe. From there it was Africa and the Middle East, then Asia Pacific, Europe, and finally North America making up the fewest number of operators expected to sign for new machines.

If the forecast holds it will represent a modest growth over the previous five-year period. Between 2009 and 2013, 4,400 turbine helicopters were produced.

The light single-engine segment will continue to be the biggest seller, with 41 percent saying they plan to buy in that entry level. That’s followed by the intermediate and medium twins, with 25 percent of the demand coming from that sector.

Despite the continued growth in emergency medical and gas and oil, corporate flying will continue to make up the biggest slice of flying. Thirty-one percent of operators plan to use their new helicopters for this purpose, followed by 25 percent for light utility, 19 percent for search and rescue and emergency medical services, and 9 percent for oil and gas.

The survey respondents also expressed optimism about their amount of flying. In North America, 20 percent of operators plan to fly more in the next five years.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly | "Flight Training" Editor

Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.