Reasons for Replacement Operators who indicated the intent to replace a currently owned helicopter with a new one within the next five years cited "age of current aircraft" or "normal planned or contracted replacement cycle" as key drivers for their decision. Once the choice to replace a current helicopter in the fleet or expand operations has been made, the make/model choice is influenced strongly by performance criteria including range, cabin size, reliability and safety, hot/high performance, and brand experience.
Operator Preferences by Class of Helicopter Light Single-engine helicopters continue to be the most popular product class for five-year fleet replacement and expansion. The most frequently mentioned Light Single models were Eurocopter EC130/AS350 series, Bell 407 and Robinson R66. Light Single helicopters had the highest concentration of regional purchase interest in North America, while purchase interest was lower in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Middle East and Africa showed a noticeable surge in interest in the Light Single class in 2013 versus earlier surveys.
Intermediate/Medium twin-engine helicopters tied for the second most popular product class mentioned for purchase during the next five years, holding roughly the same market share as in the 2012 Outlook. Approximately 25 percent of total survey mentions were for Medium Twins. The most frequently mentioned models were AW139, AW169, Bell 412, EC145 and Sikorsky S-76 series helicopters. The highest concentrations of demand for Medium Twins were measured in Middle East/ Africa, Asia and Latin America. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of all make/model mentions in Asia and Middle East/ Africa were for Medium Twins.
The Light Twin helicopter class also garnered 25 percent of total operator purchase plans in the 2013 survey. The EC135, Bell 429 and AW109 series helicopters were most frequently mentioned for five-year purchase in this class. Light Twins appear to be most popular in Europe and to a lesser extent in Asia and the Americas. In Europe, Light Twin models accounted for 37 percent of total mentions.
In the 2013 operator survey Heavy Multi-Engine helicopters declined slightly from 2012 levels. This class of helicopter typically garners a small share of overall purchase plans due to the cost and specialized nature of the aircraft. 2013 saw a 1 point decline in interest for this category of aircraft. Within the Heavy helicopter class the most frequently mentioned models were the EC225, the Mi-171 and the S-92. Various Russian models accounted for more than half of the purchase plans in this class.