The value of a second-hand Airbus Helicopters H225 has dropped to just a fraction of the figure two years ago, according to recently published data from Flight Ascend Consultancy.
Flight Ascend gives a typical market value for the heavy-twin in basic oil and gas configuration as around $3.4 million, down from as high as $24 million in March 2016, a fall of nearly 86%. However, it notes that the condition of the aircraft and its configuration can make a substantial difference to the value.
The consultancy suspended valuations of the H225 in September 2016, following a fatal crash of a CHC Helikopter Service-operated example in April of that year.
Caused by a failure in the helicopter's main gearbox, the accident resulted in the worldwide grounding of the H225 and a collapse in the second-hand market.
Although the H225 was fully cleared to return to service in July 2017, Flight Ascend was reluctant to value the helicopter as long as the rotorcraft's commercial prospects remained unclear.
While the H225 has resumed operations in some sectors, such as utility transport, offshore in select jurisdictions, and search and rescue, there is little prospect, at least in the short term, of a similar move from offshore operators in most oil and gas markets.
Lingering workforce safety concerns and a poor perception of the type, allied to a collapse in the demand for oil and gas helicopters, plus the Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring of major H225 operator CHC Helicopter, has left a large number of units seeking a new role, further depressing the value of used inventory.
However, explains Ben Chapman, UK valuations manager at Flight Ascend, with transaction levels now picking up for the H225, the consultancy felt the time was right to resume valuations for the type.
“Since we stopped providing values for the H225 in August 2016 we have been closely observing the market for any transactions, and in continuous contact with stakeholders in order to understand whether there is a market consensus as to the value," says Chapman.
"Until recently, transactions have been few and far between and opinions varied greatly. We are now starting to see some trades and variations in value opinions are narrowing, thus we feel now is the right time to again start providing values."
The $3.4 million figure reflects a generic half-life value before equipment and each machine needs to be reviewed in terms of its condition and equipment fit to derive a more precise value, he notes.
"But we also hear of buyers, most of whom are in China, willing to pay a premium as that is a large potential market for the aircraft. For this reason, as the market evolves, there is a chance that we may see an improvement in values," adds Chapman.
Experts from Flight Ascend will be available to offer more detailed analysis at the forthcoming Helitech show in Amsterdam from 16-18 October.