Honeywell Aerospace has lowered its outlook for the civil helicopter market over the next five years amid an “inconsistent economic outlook” around the world.
The Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook published March 4 said about 4,000 new civil-use helicopters were expected to be delivered between 2019 and 2023.
The figure was lower than the 4,200 deliveries forecast in the prior year’s survey.
While there was increased demand in the North American, Middle East and Africa markets, purchase plans were down in Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, the survey said.
“Despite positive impacts of US tax reform on new helicopter purchase plans in North America, an inconsistent economic outlook for international markets has resulted in lower purchase plans worldwide from fleet managers when compared with a year ago,” Honeywell Aerospace president for the Americas Aftermarket Heath Patrick said in a statement.
“Honeywell remains focused on bringing innovation to the market by delivering avionics, monitoring systems and Connected Helicopter technologies that boost a platform’s efficiency and availability.”
The survey said purchase plans were stronger from law enforcement and oil and gas operators in this year’s survey compared with a year ago. However, purchase plans were “significantly lower from corporate operators”.
Meanwhile, it said a greater proportion of planned new helicopter purchases were for intermediate/medium twin-engine models in this year’s survey compared with 2018.
“Despite respondents having a slightly less positive view of the global economic outlook in this year’s survey compared with 2018, new helicopter platforms will support an expected three to four per cent annual growth rate in overall deliveries,” Honeywell Aerospace said.
“The predicted increase in deliveries signals an overall healthy helicopter market poised for moderate growth.”
Looking at specific regions, the Honeywell Aerospace survey found 18 per cent of respondents in North America were expecting to either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years, up five percentage points from the prior year.
The survey noted North America had about 40 per cent of the world’s helicopter fleet.
Another positive market was Middle East and Africa, where 15 per cent of those surveyed said they expected to get a new helicopter over the next five years. This was up from 10 per cent in the prior year’s survey.
Closer to home, the report said about 13 per cent of those surveyed in Asia Pacific said they planned to replace or expand their helicopter fleet between now and 2023, down from 18 per cent in the 2018 survey.
“Light single-engine and medium twin-engine helicopters were the most popular classes, both capturing near 30 percent of mentions for new helicopters,” the report said of the Asia Pacific market.
“Despite limited inputs, new helicopter purchase plans were stable in China, showing that about 21 per cent of the fleet would be replaced or expanded by a new helicopter over the next five years. Plans were up by about 10 percentage points in India.”
The biggest change in sentiment was in Latin America, where purchase plans for the five years to 2023 fell 26 percentage points to just nine per cent.
It was just five per cent in Brazil, given “higher political tensions and lower expectations for long-term economic growth”.
By comparison, the global average was 15 per cent.
Sentiment also fell in Europe to 15 per cent, from 22 per cent in the prior year’s survey.
The survey comprised responses from about 1,000 chief pilots and flight department managers that operate a combined 3,334 turbine and 321 piston helicopters worldwide.