EUROCOPTER SAYS that 1995 was a "horrible year" for civil-helicopter sales, and the company is projecting flat sales for 1996. The Franco-German manufacturer's market outlook differs markedly from those of competing helicopter-makers, and is influenced by Eurocopter's reduced sales in North America in 1995.

Worldwide, Eurocopter says, some 245 new turbine helicopters of all makes were delivered to commercial operators in 1995, the same number as in 1994. Deliveries of civil helicopters to governments took the total to around 300, down from 313 in 1994. Eurocopter says that its worldwide market share was slightly down, at 39%.

The European manufacturer says that only 66 new civil turbine helicopters were delivered in the USA and Canada in 1995, down from 100 in 1994, with Eurocopter taking 32% of the market. Used-helicopter sales rose to around 1,100 aircraft, up from 900 in 1994 - not including 361 military-surplus helicopters supplied to US operators in 1995.

"Customers rejected new helicopters [in 1995]," says American Eurocopter. The company is hoping for increased sales in 1997, the first full year of production of the new EC 135 light twin, with deliveries of the new EC 120 light single to begin in 1998.

Source: Flight International