With a better long-term global economic outlook this year, customers are holding firm in their intentions to invest in new helicopter purchases over the next five years. In its 20th annual “Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook,” Honeywell forecasts 4,000 to 4,200 new civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2018 to 2022, aligning with the 5-year forecast from 2017.
“In addition to better global economic conditions expected in the coming years, potential positive impacts of U.S. tax reform on new helicopter demand and lower volatility in oil and gas-related markets have helped fleet managers confirm what they told us last year,” said Ben Driggs, president, Americas, Honeywell Aerospace. “With the expectation of stable purchase plans for new helicopters over the next five years, Honeywell is focused on bringing increased value to operators’ current and new fleets by offering Connected Helicopter engine, Health and Usage Monitoring Systems, and avionics solutions that help boost a platform’s efficiency and availability.”
Key survey findings this year include:
• During the next 12 months, helicopter fleet utilization is expected to increase significantly in North America and modestly in Europe and Latin America
• When choosing their make and model, operators purchasing new aircraft are largely considering factors like brand experience and performance, with cabin size and range factors declining from last year’s survey
• The outlook showed stable new purchase-plan rates for the next five years for North America, Europe and Asia. Latin America showed higher growth rates for the next five years with lower rates in the Middle East and Africa
North America: Purchase plans were stable in this year’s survey with 13% of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years, consistent with 2017. North America is home to more than 40% of the world helicopter fleet.
More than 50% of planned North American purchases were identified as light single-engine models, while roughly 20% of new planned purchases were for both light and medium-twin product classes.
This year’s data comes from a survey of more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight department managers of companies operating 3,489 turbine and 334 piston helicopters worldwide. The survey excluded large fleet or “mega” operators, which were addressed separately. Input received from large oil and gas support and emergency medical service fleet operators is factored into the overall outlook in addition to the individual flight department responses. The survey detailed the types of aircraft operated and assessed specific plans to replace aircraft or add new helicopters to the fleet.