Light helicopter production to fall through 2012

Light helicopter production to fall through 2012

25-Sep-2011 Source: Forecast International

In its new study titled “The Market for Light Commercial Rotorcraft 2011-2020,” Forecast International projects that light commercial helicopter manufacturers will ship just under 16,860 rotorcraft worth approximately $58.8 billion during the next 10 years. This forecast covers light commercial helicopters with maximum gross weights under 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg).

The Connecticut-based market research firm forecast that this total will include production of more than 5,900 piston-powered and nearly 10,900 turbine-powered rotorcraft. Manufacturers reported stabilization in the market during 2010, but annual production is forecast to remain under 1,300 units through 2012. The forecast assumes that economic growth in Europe and the United States, the two primary markets for rotorcraft, will be anemic through 2011 and most of 2012. Improved economic conditions thereafter will allow increased production at major manufacturers as demand recovers to its pre-recession level over the long term.

“The recession killed demand for piston helicopters, but the turbine market held up relatively well in 2009 and 2010,” notes Forecast International aerospace analyst Douglas Royce. “It is still a tough market for manufacturers, but we expect to see substantial improvement by the end of 2012.”

Production of piston-powered helicopters will account for about 35 percent of the total number of units shipped in the light commercial rotorcraft market over the period 2011-2020. The value of this production will reach over $2.2 billion, only about 4 percent of the value of the light commercial rotorcraft market overall. The value of production of turbine-powered rotorcraft is forecast to total $56.6 billion over this timeframe. The turbine market will thus account for about 96 percent of the value of production of light commercial rotorcraft during the forecast period.

Manufacturers are forecast to ship 5,959 single-engine turbine helicopters and 4,973 twins. The value of production for the single-engine turbine market is projected to be $14.6 billion. The value of production of twins is projected to reach $42 billion. The high list prices of twins result in a far higher value of production even though they are produced in lower numbers. Thus, almost 75 percent of the value of production in the turbine segment will come from production of twin-engine rotorcraft.

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