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How Will the Global Helicopter Market Evolve in Coming Years?

How Will the Global Helicopter Market Evolve in Coming Years?

With a broad spectrum of models and sizes, the helicopter market is an integral component of the aviation industry known for its adaptability and versatility. Unlike fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters efficiently cater to diverse operational needs, playing a pivotal role in supporting a range of operations and markets.   The market's response presents a formidable challenge that must be addressed strategically. In analysing the market demand across sectors such as oil and gas, EMS, offshore winds, firefighting, and utility, stability in deliveries appears to be the constant. This observation mirrors market expectations and underlines the persistent requirement for helicopter services, without foreseeing any drastic shifts or unprecedented market disruptions. Growth, Demand and Leasing Opportunities The helicopter industry has seen a notable shift towards multi-role configurations, enhancing leasing flexibility and profitability. This allows helicopters to be configured for diverse roles including search and rescue, EMS, and utility functions simultaneously. The helicopter market also continues to experience burgeoning demand, especially in specialised missions, such as firefighting, EMS, offshore, and wind sectors.   OEMs foresee growth, with new helicopter deliveries and fleet expansions expected to surpass the retirement of older models. It's important to note, however, that market growth is tied to existing helicopters' utilisation rates, the stabilisation of high inflation and interest rates, and to some degree, oil prices.     Source: IBA   The proportion of leased helicopters continues to increase, driven by new helicopter deliveries and the trend towards financing helicopter purchases instead of outright cash purchases. The leased helicopter fleet's market share of the total commercial helicopter market is close to 11% It is highly probable that the leased market share could reach 15% by the end of the decade.   Trends and Predictions for 2024-2025 Looking ahead, consistent market performance is expected for 2024, with stable deliveries hovering around the 500-unit mark. Despite gradual resolutions, supply chain issues may persist into 2024. Leading the leased helicopter operation are North America and Europe, with a focus on offshore oil and gas, EMS, and search and rescue roles. South America and Asia are not far behind in catering for this demand.   Source: IBA   EMS helicopter demand changes by region due to diverse requirements. In North America, the demand is propelled by hospital and private sector needs, fulfilled via competitive bidding. The North American market shows a preference for both single and twin-engine EMS helicopters. Conversely, in Europe, governmental public sector needs drive EMS demand, resulting in numerous charitable air ambulance services. The European preference leans towards twin-engine and medium helicopters. Rising demand is also evident in regions like Asia, fuelled by available finance and consequent investment opportunities.   The offshore oil and gas segment holds significant relevance for helicopter lessors, considering the number of helicopters leased into the sector and the market size. The demand for offshore helicopters correlates with oil and gas prices. Throughout much of the late 1980s and 1990s, helicopter deliveries were closely tied to oil prices. This trend altered in the early 2000s, with helicopter deliveries trailing oil price changes by two to three years. The most recent oil price decline of 2013-2014 is evidence of this trend, as the industry took approximately two years to adjust to the price drop by reducing deliveries and capacity.     The market value outlook for helicopters is projected to remain stable through 2025, owing to sustained demand, limited capacity, high inflation, and interest rates leading to increased costs and debt. Persistent supply chain issues also impact the market value. Lease rates for light, medium and super medium helicopters have risen, with stable trends predicted. On the other hand, heavy helicopters have experienced lease rate fluctuations mainly due to market dynamics, with a gradual recovery expected to continue. Lease rates are projected to be stable at these levels if oil prices continue to be favourable. Final thoughts Concluding, the helicopter market is robust, versatile, and consistently adapting. With a diverse range of models and sizes, the market offers unmatched flexibility, especially with the trend towards multi-role configurations. This adaptability enhances leasing versatility and profitability, as evidenced by the rising demand in sectors like firefighting, offshore, and wind.   The market dynamics that influence helicopter values and lease rates, such as demand, supply, tech advancements, and economic climate, are multifaceted. As such, these projections should be viewed within the context of broader market trends and model-specific factors. Given these intricacies, maintaining awareness, and making well-informed decisions are key to successful navigation in the helicopter market.   IBA provides award-winning aircraft valuation services for various helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft models. Our experienced team are complimented by market-leading aviation intelligence from IBA Insight, for faster, more confident decision-making.

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