Asian Sky Group – China taking off, small growth across the board


Civil aircraft consultancy  Asian Sky Group’s 2017 helicopter fleet report shows fleet growth across the board in the Asia-Pacific region, with China being the regions driving force, adding 86 new helicopters last year. The report is available here.

Mainland China led the pack of regional growth for the third year running, increasing its overall fleet to 581 helicopters, an increase of 17.4% year-on-year in 2017. This is a substantial growth over other markets, with important markets such as Australia and New Zealand seeing only 3% growth in fleet last year.

The Asia-Pacific region fleet is mainly found in four countries: Australia, Japan, Mainland China and New Zealand – which house 62% of the region’s total turbine fleet. The biggest market right now is still Australia, with 832 helicopters based there.

Greater China — mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan — saw a fleet growth of 14.7% year, a slight drop from 2016’s figure. The region saw 84 new helicopters delivered directly by  OEMs, 13 pre-owned additions and 17 helicopter deductions – representing an overall growth of 14.7%.

China’s mainland saw growth due to recent influx of government support and growing interest from foreign OEMs. Despite the drop-offs in the other Greater China regions, Mainland has propped up the region with three straight years of double-digit fleet growth.

Taiwan saw a 21% drop-off in 2017, falling from 27 to 21 additions year-on-year in 2017. Hong Kong and Macau’s combined fleet has remained at 21 helicopters since 2015.

China breakdown

Most of the helicopters in the Greater China region are flown on multi-missions, including sightseeing, aerial photography and mapping, onshore oil and gas mining operations.

Offshore is the second largest market, with 63 helicopters flying on these missions, 59 helicopters are flown on law-enforcement missions, 50 are flown on emergency medical service missions and 45 on search and rescue.

Airbus is the manufacturer that saw the biggest growth in Greater China, reaching a fleet size of 243 in 2017 – an increase of 37 new Airbus Helicopters from 2016 – cementing its status as the OEM with the biggest fleet in the country. Bell has the second largest fleet, reaching 122 helicopters in 2017, although this is only four more helicopters than in 2016.