HI Uplift: Pre-owned heavy twin-engine helis ‘see uptick in 2023’


Pre-owned, heavy twin-engine helicopters showed “an uptick” in transactions last year compared with 2022, according to rotary sales and market intelligence firm Aero Asset.

“There was an uptick in interest for the heavy twins, which was the only asset class to have increased: up 36% in transactions in 2023 vs. 2022, evenly spread out between utility and offshore operators,” Valerie Pereira, vice president of Market Research, Aero Asset told Helicopter Investor. Offshore and utility operators likely had an increase in their daily operations, increasing demand to add heavy twins to their fleet.”

There were 24 retail transactions in 2023 for utility- and offshore-configured twins, which is 35% down from 2022. Offshore-configured twins accounted for 15% of deals pending at the end of the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023. These were mainly driven by VIP configurations, which account for over 50% of the total. “Retail transaction levels for offshore energy companies are stable year-over-year,” Pereira told us. Overall, what we are noticing is that corporate and VIP operators are still driving demand for twins.”

Light twin retail sales

Light twin helicopter retail sales declined by 8% in transaction volume last year compared with 2022. Medium helicopters fell by 28% over the same period.

Retail sales volume for twin-engine helicopters fell by 12% in 2023 compared with the previous year. Supply remained constant year-over-year while the absorption rate increased for the first time in three years to 14 months of supply at current trade levels.

The average transaction price of twin-engine helicopters remained resilient in 2023, said the firm. The average transaction price (ATP) for medium twins fell by 3%. But the ATP for both light and heavy twins increased 18%, resulting overall in a 10% higher ATP year-over-year.

Over the past year there have been significant regional shifts in retail sales and the supply of twin-engine helicopters. North America and Europe saw the most significant drops in retail sales volume, according to Aero Asset. Both regions accounted for 75% of total retail sales in 2022 but only 50% last year. Retail sales volume in all other regions increased during the same period. Supply for sale in North America and Europe represented 64% last year, which was a 20% increase from 2022. Twin-engine supply in all other regions fell year-on-year.

Best-performing twin-engine heli

The best-performing twin-engine helicopter in the pre-owned market was the Bell 429, followed by the Leonardo A109E. Sikorsky’s S92A and Leonardo’s AW109S/SP shared third place, with absorption rates under six months of supply at the current transaction volume. The slowest-performing pre-owned twin markets last year were the Leonardo AW169 and Sikorsky S76D.

Aero Asset tracks pre-owned markets with the most activity, including heavy twins Airbus H225 and Sikorsky S92A, but the firm doesn’t yet see any pre-owned retail activity in super-mediums such as Airbus H175 and Leonardo AW189 helicopters.

Returning to deals pending at the end of Q4, there were 40 deals at various stages of transaction. This was 75% higher than Q4 2022. And it represents the highest number of twin-engine helicopter deals pending recorded in the past five years.

Looking ahead, Aero Asset judged that pre-owned helicopter sales this year could be impacted by continuing supply chain challenges, global unrest and uncertainty arising from the US elections.

Read 2023 Aero Asset’s 2023 report Heli Market Trends Twin-Engine Edition here. The firm defines retail sales as sales of pre-owned aircraft sold to end-users, on or off market. The figures do not include the sale of new aircraft, lease, sale lease back, internal transaction, early buy-out, sale to government or sale for parting-out.

Meanwhile, the prices of pre-owned single-engine helicopters stayed strong last year – despite the continuing slowdown in the market, according to Aero Asset’s Heli Market Trends 2023 Single-Engine report.


HI Uplift Dashboard: Helicopters for sale

Multi engine

  • Total for sale/lease: 303 – three fewer than last week
  • Percentage for sale/lease: 4.03
  • Absorption rate: 5.15
  • Total fleet: 7,521 – two fewer than last week.

Single engine

  • Total for sale/lease: 408 – six fewer than last week
  • Percentage for sale/lease: 3.53
  • Absorption rate: 4.09
  • Total fleet: 11,561 – eight more than last week.

   Source: AMSTAT, March 8th, 2024.