Helicopter deliveries will continue to soften, according to Honeywell’s annual operator survey, released Feb. 29 in connection with the Helicopter Association International convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Operators are expected to purchase 4,300 to 4,800 turbine helicopters over the next five years, an approximately 10-percent decrease from last year’s survey.
Small light singles, such as the Bell 505 and Airbus AS350 continue to lead the expected purchases. Fully 45 percent of all turbine helicopter deliveries over the next five years are expected to come from this sector, as the large twin-engine sector continues to decline. This mirrors the latest delivery figures from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which noted that helicopter shipments were down by less than 5 percent, but billings were down nearly 22 percent last year.
Much of the softness comes from the decline in the energy sector, general slow economic growth, and unsteadiness in Africa and the Middle East, according to Charles Park, director of market analysis at Honeywell.
The global distribution of expected deliveries remained steady from last year’s report, with the exception of Latin America, which is expected to see 36 percent of the demand over the next five years. Park says this may be due to the “exuberance over the Olympic games” in Brazil this year, and may not represent an accurate picture of the economic conditions there.
Despite the decline in energy prices domestically, 12 percent of the demand is expected to come from of oil and gas operators, a 4-percent increase from last year’s survey. Otherwise, the expected demand for law enforcement and general utility and flight training are down, while corporate and emergency services are up slightly.
This is Honeywell’s eighteenth year conducting the survey. The company interviewed 1,000 operators to obtain the data, which Park says helps guide internal strategy decisions, and helps to inform customers and the market.