Fleet replacement and addition expectations from operators in Asia and South America are highlights in an otherwise mildly positive five-year turbine helicopter forecast issued by Honeywell at this year's Heli-Expo show in Dallas.
In its 14th annual forecast, Honeywell gathered input from more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight departments of companies operating more than 2,450 helicopters worldwide, concluding that 4,700 to 5,200 new civilian-use helicopters will be delivered over the five-year period from 2012-2016.
"Concerns over slow economic growth in Western economies has increased the level of uncertainty in purchase plans past 2012 leading to a six-point reduction in global purchase plans compared to last year," the engine and avionics maker reported. "Based on the timing of purchase plans in the operator survey, and the delivery momentum expected this year and next, the outlook still calls for overall industry growth for the five year period 2012-2016 compared to the previous five-year period."
Honeywell said increasing purchase plans in Asia "helped offset some of the softness" in the purchase expectations in other regions, including in the US and Europe where expectation declined this year by five and eight points, respectively, compared with 2011.
However, the number of Asian operators expecting to make new purchases in the five-year window increased by more than five points, with medium twin helicopters the most popular. Latin America saw a decrease in expectations this year, but continues to lead the world in terms of the percentage of operators expected to buy new aircraft.
"In terms of projected regional demand for new helicopters, Latin America and Asia tied for the world's third-largest regional market, following North America and Europe," said Honeywell.