In its 15th Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter
Purchase Outlook report, Honeywell expects that global deliveries
of new civilian-use helicopters will increase to between 4,900 to
5,600 over the five-year period 2013–2017.
The forecast shows improved purchase plans for
new helicopters in every region of the world.
buying plans increased for the first time in half a decade, and
Latin America posted the highest regional level of five-year fleet
replacement and expansion at 34%.
Based on survey results, delivery rates of new
helicopters over the next three years are expected to reach 1,000
new units each year. Purchase plans for new helicopters for this
three-year time frame are 35% higher than last year’s survey. The latter part of the five-year outlook is also expected to fill in
and achieve similar delivery rates if economic recovery trends are
“The buyer confidence reflected in this year’s
survey is a much needed shot in the arm for the industry,” said
Brian Sill, vice president, Honeywell Aftermarket Helicopter
Sales. “Supporting the growth numbers is the fact that helicopter
usage for corporate, oil and gas, utility, and training missions
is improving, which shows that helicopters are value-add aircraft
in today’s business environment.”
Drivers for new purchase
expectations were aircraft age and condition, contractual
requirements, change in operational requirements, expiring
warranties, and regulations requiring twin engines.
five-year share of demand from the United States and Canada is
27%, and combined the Western Hemisphere represents 47% of total
global demand. Europe’s share of five-year demand closely matches
that of North America with 28%. Demand in Asia/Oceania accounts
for 19% over the next five years, and the Africa/Middle East share
should tally a little over 6%.
Global five-year fleet
replacement and expansion plans decreased last year with a dip of
4 points in expectations versus 2011 levels. This year’s stronger
survey response indicates that the industry may be returning to a
more expansionary environment. Overall five-year buying plans in
the 2013 survey recovered 4 points and specific purchase plans for
2013-2015 are very strong.
Relatively lower levels of
planned purchases were concentrated in 2016, leading to the
expectation that these plans could strengthen materially over the
next few years should political and general economic conditions
improve as projected.
Higher purchase plans were found
across the board in all regions this year. Purchase plans in major
U.S and European centers of demand rose this year by 3 and 7
points, respectively. All other regions also improved moderately
compared with 2012, and their purchase plans remain above the
world average rate. Specific purchase plans just for 2013 remain strong and improved over levels reported in the 2012 survey. The
expectation for new aircraft orders in 2013 is up over 30%
compared with 2012 levels, suggesting the recovery will maintain
momentum this year.
Global five-year demand for new
turbine-powered helicopters is split almost 50-50 between the
Americas and the rest of the world. Latin America and Asia
continue to have the highest fleet replacement and expansion
expectations among the regions. In terms of projected regional
demand for new helicopters, Latin America and Asia remain in close
competition to claim the world’s third largest regional market,
following North America and Europe.
“Honeywell is well
positioned to support the growth the industry expects during the
next five years,” Sill said. “Honeywell’s propulsion, safety,
mapping and communications technologies and services help
helicopter operators control their costs and enhance efficiency
and safety. Our turboshaft engines for light- and medium-lift
commercial helicopters provide high power, reliability, fuel
efficiency and safety for operators at a competitive price. Our
safety products, designed to provide a three-dimensional sphere of
detection ranging from the working components of the helicopter
out to more than 40 nautical miles, enable operators to expand the
flight operation of their aircraft to meet the growing demands of
Reasons for Replacement
Operators who indicated the intent to replace a currently
owned helicopter with a new one within the next five years cited “age of current aircraft” or “normal planned or contracted
replacement cycle” as key drivers for their decision. Once the choice to replace a current helicopter in the fleet or expand
operations has been made, the make/model choice is influenced
strongly by performance criteria including range, cabin size,
reliability and safety, hot/high performance, and brand
Operator Preferences by Class of
Light Single-engine helicopters continue to be
the most popular product class for five-year fleet replacement and expansion. The most frequently mentioned Light Single models were Eurocopter EC130/AS350 series, Bell 407 and Robinson R66. Light
Single helicopters had the highest concentration of regional
purchase interest in North America, while purchase interest was
lower in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Middle East and
Africa showed a noticeable surge in interest in the Light Single
class in 2013 versus earlier surveys.
twin-engine helicopters tied for the second most popular product
class mentioned for purchase during the next five years, holding
roughly the same market share as in the 2012 Outlook.
Approximately 25% of total survey mentions were for Medium Twins.
The most frequently mentioned models were AW139, AW169, Bell 412,
EC145 and Sikorsky S-76 series helicopters. The highest
concentrations of demand for Medium Twins were measured in Middle East/Africa, Asia and Latin America. Between 30% and 40% of all
make/model mentions in Asia and Middle East/Africa were for Medium
The Light Twin helicopter class also garnered 25%
of total operator purchase plans in the 2013 survey. The EC135,
Bell 429 and AW109 series helicopters were most frequently
mentioned for five-year purchase in this class. Light Twins appear
to be most popular in Europe and to a lesser extent in Asia and
the Americas. In Europe, Light Twin models accounted for 37% of
In the 2013 operator survey Heavy
Multi-Engine helicopters declined slightly from 2012 levels. This
class of helicopter typically garners a small share of overall
purchase plans due to the cost and specialized nature of the
aircraft. 2013 saw a 1 point decline in interest for this category
of aircraft. Within the Heavy helicopter class the most frequently
mentioned models were the EC225, the Mi-171 and the S-92. Various
Russian models accounted for more than half of the purchase plans
in this class.
The vast majority of global civil
helicopter mentions were concentrated in products manufactured by
three OEMs: Eurocopter, Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland. Less
than 15% of mentions were for helicopters manufactured by all remaining OEMs.
Again in this year’s survey, Honeywell
asked all respondents to indicate their “current” satisfaction
over the last year with each model of aircraft they operate.
Respondents answered the question, “How likely is it that you
would recommend this model to a friend or colleague?” Listed in
alphabetical order for models receiving over 25 responses, the top
six (two models tied for top five) make/models with the highest
net scores in this year’s survey are these:
• Bell 206 series
• Bell 407
• Bell 412
These six models account
for nearly 50% of all survey make/model mentions and can be
considered the top current production helicopters in terms of
recent customer satisfaction attitudes and likelihood to promote.
There were many other make/models currently in production that
also received excellent scores that did not make it into the top
Expected to Increase
Utilization rates reported in this
year’s survey for the past 12 months were flat in North America
and Europe, but rose in the other regions. Looking ahead for the
next 12 months, plans for increased helicopter fleet utilization
in 2013 were reported by operators in all regions. Planned
increases in each region were as follows:
• North America:
10% of operators plan increases, and only 3% plan decreases.
• Europe: 16% of operators plan increases, and only 7% plan
• Latin America: 27% of operators plan increases
and only 5% plan decreases.
• Middle East/Africa: 33% of
operators plan increases and only 15% plan decreases.
Asia: 35% of operators plan increases, and only 6% plan decreases.
European operators reported the lowest annual average
usage rate among the regions; however European operations measured
by Eurocontrol flight data did post solid gains in 2012. When
examining utilization trends across usage segments, oil and gas
was the highest at an annual average of approximately 725 hours
per aircraft followed by emergency medical services, tourism,
training and general utility closely grouped at approximately
410–430 hours per year. Law enforcement and electronic news
gathering came in at 375–390 hours. The lowest average utilization
was reported by corporate segment operators at less than 300 hours
Civilian Turbine Helicopter Survey
The 2013 Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook
is based on Honeywell’s recently conducted customer expectations
survey, an assessment of consensus forecasts, a review of factory
delivery rates and analysis of future new helicopter
The 2013 Outlook excludes uniformed military demand
for civil helicopters, but resulting civil estimates do include
government and security force demand.
This year’s survey queried more than 1,000 chief
pilots and flight department managers of companies operating 2,400
turbine and 275 piston helicopters worldwide.
The survey excluded
large fleet or “mega” operators, which were interviewed
separately. Input received from large oil and gas support and EMS
fleet operators is factored into the overall outlook in addition
to the individual flight department responses.
political instability in the Middle East and current slow economic
growth projections for Western economies in the near term was
factored into the current survey and forecast results. Demand for
civil rotorcraft is also potentially sensitive to fuel price
volatility and possible supply disruptions.
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