ADVERTISEMENT MARCH 2010 Helicopter Market Outlook 2010 by Rod Simpson It is no secret that the business aviation market has suffered badly during the world recession and that the forecast for the next few years shows only a slow recovery. So, it would be easy to assume that the helicopter market shares the same dismal picture. In reality, prospects for the sales of new helicopters over the next decade Enstrom 480 are rather more optimistic. It is true that 2009 was hardly an orders for the UH-72A Lakota for the Police and Emergency Market Resilient outstanding year for civil market US military forces. At Sikorsky, 75% In the civil and public service (CPS) sales, but the military demands of the of the 2009 sales volume was military. sector, Eurocopter, whose results largely Middle East conflict and paramilitary This has allowed manufacturers to reflect the current state of the industry, requirements for homeland security continue key commercial research and continues to be the largest manufacturer have meant respectable revenues for development projects such as Sikorsky’s with a worldwide market share of over many helicopter manufacturers. For new generation S-76D. 50%. However, 2009 was challenging. example, Eurocopter has booked 173 While military orders stimulated a rise in revenues from $6.4 to $7.8 billion, this disguised a collapse in the sales of small civil helicopters. Overall, Eurocopter’s net CPS orders dropped to less than half the 2008 level - from 715 units down to 344 - with the smaller EC120 and Ecureuil (Squirrel) being hard hit. This is hardly surprising because sales of personal and corporate helicopters have suffered the same fate as business jets. Demand for new aircraft has collapsed and there is a large inventory of good used helicopters in the 6/7 seat class (such as the Bell 407, EC120 and Squirrel) at bargain prices. Bell 407 MARCH 2010 Bell’s results were a little brighter, with Long-term Outlook Brighter 153 new deliveries last year (compared The well-respected forecasters at Rolls- with 167 in 2008), including the first of Royce predict that the helicopter market ADVERTISEMENT their Model 429s. It is in the medium- will be worth $38 billion over the next capacity utility helicopter market, which decade, equivalent to sales of 10,300 also includes the Eurocopter EC145 and new civil rotor aircraft and 6,100 military the AgustaWestland AW139, that things units. Rolls-Royce forecasts that output were more promising. While sales in will start rising in 2011 from present 2009 were still affected by the recession, levels, to reach a peak of just under important customer orders came from 1,200 civil sales annually and will level police and medical emergency services off at this volume through to 2019. which seemed to be quite resilient. Honeywell, which also provides solid Offshore Replacements forecasts of industry activity, is slightly The offshore oil and gas sector is also less optimistic, seeing a similar delivery a very important market with existing pattern to the last five years with operators replacing older equipment. shipments of 4,250 rotor units in the AgustaWestland has a strong reputation 2010 to 2014 period. While Honeywell with AW139 purchasers such as Bristows notes that there has been an increase and the Qatar-based Petroleum Air in the utilisation of turbine helicopters Service. Eurocopter’s Dauphin still sells in the closing months of 2009, they still to this sector, with a fresh seven-aircraft feel tight credit and depressed economic order recently announced for Pawan conditions will mean only a gradual Hans in India, but the new EC175 will also return to higher volumes. Consequently, appeal to such customers. The offshore industry expectations are that total segment has also provided a market for delivery numbers in 2010 will be similar Eurocopter’s larger Super Puma family to the 2009 volume of around 1,450 units. which scored 81 unit sales compared with 35 in 2008 and for Sikorsky, whose Light Rotor Revolution S-92 is taking over from its predecessor, Innovation is the key to the helicopter the S-61N. industry’s future health and all the manufacturers are spending significant Finally, one should not forget the Russian- amounts of money on refreshing their designed Mil Mi-8/Mi-17 in the 13-tonne product lines. The smaller manufacturers class, which has been extensively need this more than the others and upgraded by Kazan Helicopters and the Robinson Helicopter is hoping that its new Ulan Ude Aviation Plant and is a favourite R66 will save its fortunes. 2009 was a bad with the United Nations and other public year for Robinson with deliveries halved support bodies. The resilience of the (to 433 units) because of the shortage of larger models provides strong revenues bank finance for its large body of private even if overall unit volumes may have clients and order cancellations resulting suffered at the smaller end. in a stockpile of undelivered R-44s at the Torrance factory. MARCH 2010 However, the R66, powered by a consumption of over 30% compared on a backlog of over 300 orders for the Rolls-Royce R300 turbine, and very with the existing Turboméca Arrius Model 429 and Sikorsky has revitalised competitively priced at $770,000, could turboshaft. Eurocopter is also working its long-established S-76 with the new spark a revolution in the light helicopter on several new technologies including its “D” model. At AgustaWestland, work market. Externally similar to the R44, it is Blue Edge and Blue Blade rotor systems continues on the new AW XX9 light twin a five-seater with a respectable baggage which embody new shaping and trailing and two more prototypes are due to join compartment and turbine performance. edge flaps, and are intended to reduce the BA609 programme – although planned It will certainly provide stiff competition vibration and external noise levels. certification of this revolutionary tilt rotor for the Enstrom 480B, although Enstrom Expect, also, two new models from machine has now been extended to 2013. has gained some useful orders recently, Eurocopter later this year. They are being including one for 16 of its 480B training reticent on the details but the Eurocopter Overall, there is uncertainty about the pace helicopters for the Royal Thai Army and X4 replacement for the venerable of worldwide economic recovery among follow-on contracts from Peru for its Dauphin is certainly on the cards. helicopter industry manufacturers – but piston engine F28F. sufficient long-term confidence for them What is not a secret is the new EC175, to press forward with their key projects. New Technologies which made its first flight in December At Eurocopter, the EC120, whose 2009 and is being developed under a Chinese order intake slumped from 85 to just 8 joint venture. Orders are in hand for 114 sales, is expected to be re-engined with EC175s for 14 customers. Bell is sitting a diesel engine which will provide lower emissions and an improvement in fuel Sikorsky S-76D Landings: Buenos Aires www. Business aviation facilities and services in and around Buenos Aires.