Helicopters – is the market still just hovering or about to rise?
According to the latest figures from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) 926 helicopter units were shipped in 2017, 7.5% up on the 861 delivered in 2016. But when it came to revenues, the total billing amount of these helicopters ran at around $3.7 billion, just a fractional 1.4% higher than the approximate $3.6 billion recorded in 2016.
But here’s a thing — Leonardo’s fourth quarter results were not included in GAMA’s figures . They are only set to be announced in March. So, to allow us to compare apples with apples, the manufacturer’s Q4 results have been excluded from the 2016 figures in the comparison.
As GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce put it: “The 2017 year-end results were encouraging, especially with the delivery growth we saw in the business jet, piston airplane and rotorcraft segments.”
Mr Bunce also pointed to additive manufacturing (more commonly known as 3D printing), upcoming urban-mobility platforms and electric and hybrid propulsion as reasons to be optimistic about the market’s prospects.
Bell and Airbus are both investing heavily in urban mobility and electric propulsion with their electric powered VTOL offerings. It’s technology that counts.