More than 9,200 rotorcraft, worth more than $74.5 billion, are expected to be built in the next decade, according to a forecast released at the show by the US-based Teal Group.

This total includes 4,712 civil machines worth $12.3 billion, and 4,494 military helicopters valued at $62.2 billion. Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia says: "These numbers represent a great improvement over the previous 10 years [1990-1999] when production totalled 8,229 machines worth $51.3 billion."

The forecast, which provides a comprehensive look at the rotorcraft industry, including tiltrotors, says that the five main rotorcraft manufacturers, Bell, Boeing, Eurocopter, Sikorsky and Agusta/Westland - "when the merger is finally cemented" - will hold 92% of the world's rotorcraft market during the 2000-9 forecast period.

Aboulafia adds: "Further industry consolidation would be an excellent idea, but European techno-nationalism and over-zealous US regulators basically rule out any further serious consolidation for now, no matter how useful and necessary."

He says that a tie-up between Agusta/Westland and Bell in the next decade, for example, would give the new company a market share of more than 30%. "The prospect of this happening is undoubtedly hastening talks between Sikorsky and Boeing."

Source: Flight International