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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Growth Forecast for Civil Choppers

By Ramon Lopez/Editor, AT’s Daily Brief

Rolls Royce is predicting a near-term recovery of the civil helicopter market and is confident of long-term growth over the next 10 years.

Rolls-Royce Helicopter Engines President Ken Roberts says the underlying requirement to replace the aging airframes in use today would supplement demand for helicopters in the civil market.

'In recent years the OEMs have been running a full capacity. There has definitely been a downturn, particularly in the civil market. But we think that we are going to get back on the growth track relatively quickly. There are strong indicators that that growth will happen,” Roberts said.

A recent update of the market outlook had predicted turbine rotorcraft deliveries to reach more than 16,400 units over the 10 year period. This was split between a civil market of 10,300 civil helicopters valued at some $38 billion and 6100 military helicopters valued at $108 billion.

'In addition to the normal growth that would occur in the market, as emerging countries markets develop, there is underlying demand that will be generated by replacement. Because currently there is a large segment of the global fleet which is excess of 30 years old – particularly there are a number of 1970s helicopters that have been flying and are now starting to replaced in the market,' Roberts said.

“So irrespective of market growth we think there is going to be an important and sustainable element in the market which is just really about replacing these 30, 40 and sometimes 50 year old helicopters that are being operated,” he believes.

Ramon Lopez also serves as editor-in-chief of Air Safety Week; he has been covering air safety for more than three decades (rlopez@accessintel.com).


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