Future Brightens for Rotorcraft Market

The civil helicopter market should continue to experience modest growth this year, led by demand for light singles and regional strength outside North America in Europe and Asia. Honeywell's helicopter forecast pegged demand for light singles at 58 percent of total units over the next four years, while demand for light twins shifts to medium twins and super-mediums.

Growing geopolitical uncertainty combined with OPEC crude oil production cuts should send the price of oil and gas climbing this year, benefitting the leading offshore operators as that sector consolidates and rebounds. However, expect to see more offshore activity in Austral-Asia and a growing shift from heavies to super-mediums to service that market, a development that bodes well for Airbus, Bell, and Leonardo—companies with available or soon-to-be available new models in that sector. Those models also will benefit from the global trend to privatize helicopter search-and-rescue operations.

Russia and China will continue to devote increasing resources to indigenous civil helicopter development programs across the entire size and technology spectrum, including coaxial, compound, and tiltrotors. In the U.S., helicopter EMS operators will continue to struggle against the backdrop of increasing costs and third-party provider reimbursements that fall short. More consolidation in this sector can be expected. Initiatives such as Uber Elevate will continue to encourage the emerging eVTOL market.