Super Puma hits new delivery milestone

This originally appeared as the Helicopter Investor Weekly Newsletter.

When the SA332 Super Puma first flew in 1978, many were impressed by its performance. But few suspected that 40 years later the Super Puma family would prove its longevity by outlasting two company mergers while establishing its position as one of the most important names in the market.

Last week marked another major milestone, Airbus delivered the 1,000th Super Puma – a twin-engine multi-role H215 – to the German Federal Police (Bundespolizei).

This is the fourth and final H215 delivered of a four aircraft order which started in December 2018. The police’s helicopter fleet includes 23 Super Puma aircraft, including 19 AS332 L1s and now the four H215s.

Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters said: “The Super Puma family of civil and military helicopters has consistently performed well thanks to its ability to appeal to many different mission segments, whether you’re fighting fires, building power lines, transporting troops, or saving lives in extreme environments.

However, the name has been somewhat tarnished in the past few years. In October 2016, a Super Puma H225 operated by CHC carrying 11 passengers from the Gulfaks B Platform in the North Sea, crashed near the Norwegian island of Turoy. This led to the H225 model being grounded by regulatory agencies around the world.

As a result, there are a lot off operators trying to offload their aircraft to a shrinking number of markets. In Q2 2019, there were apparently two H225s sold for between $5-$6 million on average – according to the data from the Q2 pre-owned market report by Aero Asset.

Airbus remains confident in the name, with Bruno Even adding: “Thanks to our close partnerships with long-standing customers like the German Federal Police, who we are honoured will operate our 1,000th Super Puma, we are able to continuously improve so that this important product continues to meet the evolving market needs for decades to come.”

Airbus originally planned to replace the H225 with a brand-new clean-sheet design – the X6 – which it first revealed in 2015. The heavy civil helicopter was targeting many of the same markets as the 225, with a focus on oil and gas operations and SAR. The project was put on hold in 2018.

With no news of new clean-sheet helicopter designs from Airbus, we can expect many more years of Super Pumas to come.

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