The downturn in the oil and gas sector that has seen deliveries and values of large and medium helicopter types plummet over the past two years may be bottoming out – but any recovery is likely to be at least a year away, believes Flight Ascend Consultancy.
The next 12 to 18 months could see “some stablisation and signs of growth”, Ben Chapman, an analyst, said in a webinar presentation on the market on 21 March.
Every year, Flight Ascend Consultancy calculates the change in market value for a range of types – based on fluctuating market conditions – and measures these against base values, or depreciation over the lifetime of a product.
After a rocky period for the entire civil rotorcraft industry, the consultancy assesses that market values of several types fell less than their expected depreciation over the turn of the year. Among those that enjoyed a strong positive “market effect” were the Airbus Helicopters EC135 P2+ and AS332 L1, and Leonardo's AgustaWestland AW169 and AW189.
By contrast, market values of Sikorsky's two most recent S-76 variants – the C++ and D models – fell by substantially more than the reduction in their base value.
The grounding of the Airbus H225 – following a fatal accident in April 2016 in which 13 people were killed – has “reduced excess” capacity in the market and “cushioned some value declines”, says Chapman. Operations of the 11t-class helicopter remain banned by safety authorities in the UK and Norway, its two biggest markets.