Figures released by GAMA this week paint a very poor picture for Robinson Helicopter Co, with unit production down 38% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Turnover fell from $167.3M to $110.1M, a drop of 34%.
Production of the R22, R44 and R66 counted 19, 123 and 54 units respectively in 2019, each figure representing the lowest (or equal lowest) for each model since the deep recession of 2010. The 2018 equivalent numbers were 33 R22s, 209 R44s and 74 R66s. This equates to a drop in units produced for the R22 of 42%, the R44 of 41% and the R66 coming out best with a drop of “only” 27%.
While the lower production volumes of other OEMs do not make comparison particularly easy, the piston market saw Guimbal down 4% from 26 to 25 units and Enstrom 21% down from 14 to 11 aircraft. In the entry level light turbines, the R66 performed better than its piston siblings, but was still down 27% from 74 to 54 units, in a market which saw Enstrom 50% down with just four 480s leaving the Michigan factory, and Bell 13% down with 101 505s built against their 2018 figure of 116. Airbus dropped out of this market with the closure of the H120 production line in late 2017. MD do not publish any production data, against the spirit of the market where every other manufacturer submits numbers to GAMA as an independent third party.
From recently available projected lead times for new aircraft, and assuming the 2019 production rates, Robinson currently has a backlog of approximately 5 R22s, 51 R44s and 22 R66s.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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