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Civil helicopters to embrace harsher environments: survey

Nov. 17, 2014, London, U.K. - The civil helicopter market is still slowly recovering from the economic downturn as emerging economies renew and expand their helicopter fleets.


November 17, 2014
By Carey Fredericks


Topics

In the commercial segment, buoyant demand from the oil and gas industry for offshore transportation coupled with adoption in the sectors such as emergency medical services, air ambulances and aerial services are supporting revenues. In the government sector, ageing police helicopter renewals are driving market growth.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Civil Helicopters Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $6.22 billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach $9.90 billion in 2023. Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, and Latin America are expected to be the most attractive markets.

"Technology developments in airframe, engine
and mission systems that provide more airworthiness, resilience,
performance and responsiveness are enabling the new generation of
helicopters to function in tough environments," said Frost &
Sullivan Aerospace and Defence Industry Analyst Alix Leboulanger.
"Civil operators will also look for capabilities to improve territorial
surveillance, crime prevention and natural disaster relief. Vertical take-off and landing capabilities are
also greatly sought after to overcome geographic and infrastructure
constraints. Such capabilities are critical to bolster operational
efficiency, as highlighted during parapublic missions in congested
environments and degraded weather conditions."

Nonetheless,
faced with stretched government budgets and irregular turnovers,
government and commercial operators are opting to upgrade existing
assets rather than purchase new platforms. Continuing renewal of legacy
helicopters creates a difficult market environment for newer platforms.
Higher insurance costs, personnel training expenditures, and fuel taxes
limit opportunities in regions still dealing with economic instability
compound the problem.

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"Certain
operators are even considering switching to other aircraft types, such
as fixed wing aircraft and unmanned systems when missions and
regulations enable such a change," noted Leboulanger. "However, there
will be a very precise trade-off between operation costs and aircraft
performance, which is not necessarily satisfactory, especially if
operators are willing to keep hovering capabilities and flying at low
altitudes."

On
the other hand, if advanced capabilities were offered using attractive
business models that ease the financial burden, manufacturers will be
able to gain customers. Optionally unmanning helicopters to embrace the
rise of unmanned systems is another option that will extend cost and
operational benefits to participants in the global civil helicopters
market.

"Looking
at the big picture, the rise of smart sensors, cloud computing, Big
Data, and Internet of Things will facilitate predictive maintenance,"
added Leboulanger. "This will reduce related costs by decreasing
grounded times and improving resource management."


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