Helicopter pre-owned twin-engine sales recover but not to pre-Covid levels


The pre-owned twin engine helicopter market continued to recover in the fourth quarter (Q4) of last year but retail sales remained below 2019 levels, due to the impact of Covid-19, according to the latest Heli Market Trends report from Aero Asset.

Aero Asset sales director Emmanuel Dupuy said: “Fourth-quarter 2020 retail sales volume rose 22% compared with the third quarter [Q3], but remained 25% below fourth quarter 2019. Twin pre-owned supply for sale remained stable in the fourth quarter, but still 10% higher year-over-year.”

The absorption rate continued to improve during the quarter but remained 50% higher compared with the same period of 2019. There was also a bounce back in the deal pipeline, after four consecutive quarters of decline in the number of deals pending at various stages of transaction. The number of deals bounced back to surpass fourth quarter 2019 levels.

Uptick in sales volume

 The light twin engine market was stable during the quarter following a strong rebound in the third quarter of 2020. In the medium asset class market, Aero Asset noted an uptick in sales volume and a stable level of supply. The heavy market stood at a standstill, after improvements in the third quarter.

The VIP helicopter segment was stable in the fourth quarter, compared with the third. But sales volume remained 15% below the same period of 2019 fourth quarter. VIP sales represented 64% of all trading activity, with utility and EMS configurations accounting for the remainder.

The most liquid preowned markets in the quarter were the Airbus Helicopters H135 and H145, which tied at first place. Two of 12 markets in the line-up saw no trades during the fourth quarter, both in the heavyweight class. The least liquid market with trading activity was the Bell 412EP, which continued to suffer from lack of demand.

 No trades in the fourth quarter

Aero Asset’s Heli Market Trends compiles fourth-quarter performance of 12 twin engine models in the light, medium and heavy weight categories, from Airbus Helicopters H135 to Sikorsky S92. Market performance is ranked from most to least active.

Interviewed in the report, Marc Paganni, managing partner of Exocet – a Dallas-based consulting firm specialised in the aerospace, defence, and automotive sectors predicted recovery for the helicopter market within three years.

“On the helicopter side, the oil and gas market will certainly remain flat for the near future,” said Paganni. “However, the parapublic market and utility/aerial work market should grow again due to the availability of significant public funding to sustain the economic activity.

“Demand for corporate and private helicopters, as well as small business jets, should remain strong as they constitute a way for wealthy customers to avoid commercial flights and fly away from pandemic lockdowns. As a consequence, the helicopter market will likely come back to pre-Covid levels before 2023.”

Meanwhile, Aero Asset plans to release its 2020 annual market report before the end of March 2021.


Aero Asset Heli Market Trends report – at a glance

  • Q4 better than Q3 but still down from Q4 2019
  • Light twin engine market is stable Q4
  • Deterioration ended in the medium market
  • Heavy market at a standstill Q4 after a decent Q3
  • VIP helicopters represented 64% of all sales, with utility and EMS configurations accounting for the remainder
  • The most liquid preowned markets Q4 20 were the Airbus H135 and H145 markets tied at first place.

Source: Aero Asset. Read the full report here.

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