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Helicopter Demand Up Worldwide For Next Five Years

The vast majority of global civil helicopter mentions were concentrated in products manufactured by three OEMs: Eurocopter, Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland. Less than 15 percent of mentions were for helicopters manufactured by all remaining OEMs.

Again in this year's survey, Honeywell asked all respondents to indicate their "current" satisfaction over the last year with each model of aircraft they operate. Respondents answered the question, "How likely is it that you would recommend this model to a friend or colleague?" Listed in alphabetical order for models receiving over 25 responses, the top six (two models tied for top five) make/models with the highest net scores in this year's survey are these:

  • AW139
  • Bell 206 series
  • Bell 407
  • Bell 412
  • EC130/EC350 series
  • S-76

These six models account for nearly 50 percent of all survey make/model mentions and can be considered the top current production helicopters in terms of recent customer satisfaction attitudes and likelihood to promote. There were many other make/models currently in production that also received excellent scores that did not make it into the top six listing.

Helicopter Utilization Expected to Increase Utilization rates reported in this year's survey for the past 12 months were flat in North America and Europe, but rose in the other regions. Looking ahead for the next 12 months, plans for increased helicopter fleet utilization in 2013 were reported by operators in all regions. Planned increases in each region were as follows:

  • North America: 10 percent of operators plan increases, and only 3 percent plan decreases.
  • Europe: 16 percent of operators plan increases, and only 7 percent plan decreases.
  • Latin America: 27 percent of operators plan increases and only 5 percent plan decreases.
  • Middle East/ Africa: 33 percent of operators plan increases and only 15 percent plan decreases.
  • Asia: 35 percent of operators plan increases, and only 6 percent plan decreases.

European operators reported the lowest annual average usage rate among the regions; however European operations measured by Eurocontrol flight data did post solid gains in 2012. When examining utilization trends across usage segments, oil and gas was the highest at an annual average of approximately 725 hours per aircraft followed by emergency medical services, tourism, training and general utility closely grouped at approximately 410–430 hours per year. Law enforcement and electronic news gathering came in at 375–390 hours. The lowest average utilization was reported by corporate segment operators at less than 300 hours per helicopter.

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