Airbus Helicopters recorded 409 deliveries in 2017, a slight fall on the 418 rotorcraft it handed over the previous year.

Gross orders were 350 units, down from 388 in 2016, while net orders stood at 335, against 353 for the previous 12 months.

Detailing the results on 22 January, chief executive Guillaume Faury said that "we reached our target" despite the "lower but rather stable market environment".

Airbus Helicopters maintained "or slightly grew" its share of 50% of the global civil and parapublic market last year, says Faury, delivering 260 of the segment's 520 rotorcraft in 2017.

Although 2017 was the second year running during which the manufacturer received no orders for offshore-configured H225 heavy-twins, Airbus Helicopters booked 54 total commitments for the Super Puma family, of which 10 were for the smaller H215.

Of the remainder, the majority were accounted for by a 30-unit deal with Kuwait for its air force and national guard, with others ordered by a number of parapublic and military customers.

"It was one of the biggest years ever for the Super Puma," says Faury.

However, he did not address the safety issues surrounding the H225 in the offshore market, which have severely hampered oil and gas sales since a fatal crash in Norway in 2016.

He notes that there remains considerable "overcapacity" of heavy helicopters for offshore passenger transportation, a situation which is unlikely to change despite recent rises in the price of crude oil.

"I do not think the recovery, or partial recovery, of the oil price will have a positive impact on the helicopter industry over the next couple of years," he says.

Instead, operators are shifting to super-medium-class helicopters, such as the H175, which can "perform the vast majority of missions at a significantly reduced price"; Airbus Helicopters booked 19 orders for the H175 in 2017.

Faury predicts the airframer will achieve about 400 deliveries in 2018, which he describes as "a good challenging objective".

However, with Faury to transition to his new role leading Airbus's commercial aircraft division from February, it will be down to his successor to hit that target.

Faury reveals no details about who will follow him, but says the decision will be announced "rather soon".