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Helicopter forecast foresees stronger deliveries
Utilisation rates are up for turbine-powered helicopters according to Honeywell’s latest annual purchase outlook report, as are deliveries, although purchase plans are down. Data is sourced from more than 1,000 operators.
In its annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook, Honeywell predicts delivery of more than 4,100 helicopters by 2024.

In its 22nd annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook, Honeywell forecasts delivery of 4,100 new civilian-use helicopters from 2020 to 2024, marginally higher than the five year forecast from 2019. While deliveries are expected to be higher than in 2019, purchase plans are lower, but only by less than a percentage point.

“This year, we anticipate higher deliveries due to entry into service of new helicopter platforms,” says president, Americas aftermarket Heath Patrick. “Despite the slight dip in purchase plans we see several bright spots, including higher utilisation rates. This means operators plan to use their aircraft more frequently over the next 12 months. Honeywell is prepared for this upswing and is committed to providing seamless global customer support, while also maintaining our focus on bringing new, innovative products to the helicopter market.”

Key findings this year show that purchase plans are significantly stronger from the corporate/VIP segment in this year's survey, but lower from law enforcement and oil and gas operators. A greater proportion of planned new helicopter purchases is for light twin engine models this year compared with 2019, and lower for light single engine models. Overall, 56 per cent of planned purchases are for twin engine models, eight percentage points higher than last year.

When choosing their make and model for a new rotorcraft, the top three factors operators consider are brand experience, aircraft performance and cabin size.

In North America, average utilisation was higher by about 12 per cent in 2019 compared with 2018. About 19 per cent of survey respondents said their helicopter fleet utilisation is expected to increase over the next 12 months. Purchase plans have declined by six percentage points over a year ago, with 12 per cent of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. North America is home to more than 40 per cent of the world's helicopter fleet. Nearly half of planned North American purchases were identified as light single engine models, while roughly 32 per cent of new planned purchases were for intermediate and medium twin product classes. About 38 per cent of planned purchases will be used for emergency medical services (EMS) purposes, followed by 20 per cent for law enforcement and 17 per cent for corporate/VIP usage.

Compared with 2019 results, purchase plans in Europe are higher this year. More than 18 per cent of respondents said they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years; the figure was 15 per cent a year ago. Intermediate and medium twin engine classes captured roughly 41 per cent of total purchase plans for new helicopters. Meanwhile, 37 per cent of respondents indicated plans to purchase light single engine helicopters, up five percentage points from last year. About 26 per cent of planned purchases will be used for utility/aerial work, followed by 23 per cent for corporate/VIP and 16 per cent for EMS/search and rescue (SAR) usage.

In Latin America, results for 2020 show significantly higher fleet replacement and growth expectations compared with 2019. Purchase plans are well above the global average of 14 per cent, and the region's purchase plans increased by 20 percentage points from last year. The region had the highest rate of new aircraft purchase plans globally, with close to 29 per cent of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. Purchase plans in Brazil increased to 26 per cent, a jump of 21 percentage points over last year's survey results, and respondents favoured light single engine models, which represent about half of the planned purchases. Light twin engine models are second with 28 per cent of all planned purchases, an increase of 23 percentage points compared with 2019 survey results.

The Middle East and Africa region has the lowest new purchase rate globally, with only 5 per cent of respondents' fleets expected to get a new helicopter replacement or addition. Purchase plans are 10 percentage points lower compared with 2019 survey results. Close to 62 per cent of planned new helicopter purchases are for light twin engine models; medium twin engine models are the second highest mentioned product class in the survey at 23 per cent, a decline of 46 percentage points compared with 2019 survey results.

Overall buying plans in Asia Pacific are down six percentage points compared with 2019. Close to seven per cent of respondents said they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. Intermediate/medium twin engine and light single engine helicopters were the most popular classes, capturing 38 per cent and 35 per cent of all mentions for new helicopters, respectively. Despite limited inputs, new helicopter purchase plans are lower in China, showing that about 14 per cent of the fleet would be replaced or expanded by a new helicopter over the next five years. Purchase plans are down by about seven percentage points compared with 2019 results.

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