Paul Derby

Sikorsky president Dean Borgman believes another round of consolidation in the helicopter industry is inevitable. And he refuses to rule out a future bid for a rival manufacturer.

"Somewhere down the line there will be movement," says Borgman, speaking on the eve of the show. "But for the market to change there needs to be buyers and sellers. At the moment there's no seller."

Closer ties between Bell Helicopter and GKN Westland, coupled with Westland's impending merger with Italy's Agusta have set the tone for closer co-operation in recent months. Sikorsky was linked with a bid for Boeing's military helicopter business last year, but a firm offer failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, Borgman says he is delighted with the breakthrough in S-92 sales unveiled at Heli-Expo 2000. Sikorsky announced simultaneous agreements with offshore oil operator Cougar Helicopters and Canadian Helijet Airways which will see the first civil variants of the S-92 go into service.

"It's important for the aircraft's international prospects that we have these commitments in the commercial field," says Borgman. "We have upcoming military competitions in Portugal and the Nordic region and Canada is also finalising a requirement."

The Sikorsky president admits that sales of the S-76, particularly in the corporate market, failed to match expectations in 1999. Civil helicopter sales in general did not mirror the strong US economy.

Source: Flight Daily News