Lessor LCI believes the market for medium and heavy helicopters is beginning to recover after several consecutive years of downturn.

"I don't think we are seeing the impact yet on pricing but we are seeing a huge amount of activity," says chief executive Mike Platt.

"Look at the number of tenders out there, in oil and gas in particular."

However, he cautions that although part of an improving picture, activity in the North Sea and Persian Gulf regions is still lagging other area, notably Southeast Asia.

"But if you add it all up, over the next 12-15 months the demand picture is changing dramatically," he says.

Platt sees interest across the board in the medium and super-medium segments, where it holds orders for a variety of the Leonardo Helicopters and Airbus Helicopters types, including their respective AW189 and H175.

Those two aircraft – which Platt refers to as light-heavies – are increasingly used as alternatives to 10-passenger models such as the Sikorsky S-92, he says.

He says availability on the H175 is "18 to 24 months" with the AW189 "starting to see that sort of activity".

He also praises the in-development H160, and may consider adding the 6t-class helicopter to LCI's fleet.

LCI currently has 40 helicopters in operation, with another 12 on firm order.

Source: FlightGlobal.com