Twin engine pre-owned helicopter sales to remain ‘bullish’: Aero Asset


The market for twin engine, pre-owned helicopter sales is likely to remain “bullish”, Valerie Pereira, Aero Asset vice president of Market Research has told Helicopter Investor.

Commenting after the publication of the company’s 2020 Heli Market Trends report, Pereira said: “The heated transaction pace observed at the end of 2020, an expanding preowned deal pipeline, and the pandemic vaccine rollout supports the making of a bullish market.”

 The pre-owned twin engine market is fairing better than most people think, according to Pereira. “Following a heli market roller coaster ride last year, most indicators point to a healthier trend,” she said. “As Covid-19 ramped up through the second quarter in 2020, preowned twin engine helicopter retail sales volume dropped by half. While the market went into hypotension, a strong recovery was just around the corner,” she added.

The supply of pre-owned, good pedigree, well-priced high end singles and twin engine helicopters has dried up. “Pricing is rising in some market segments,” said Pereira. “The OEMs have cut production and preowned pricing has adjusted.”

‘Pricing is rising in some segments’

Last year, overall sales rose by 10% year-on-year, with 2020 recording the most retail transactions in the past four years. Supply for sale climbed 8%, following a sharp rise in the number of units offered for sale in the second half of 2020.

The overall adsorption rate remained constant across all models and asset classes. The rate was 20.5 months of supply at 2020 trading levels compared to 21 months in 2019. Leading the trend was the EC145/H145 with a 2020 absorption rate of nine months. That compared with a S-76C+/C++, which had a 2020 absorption rate of 4.2 years.

The heavy weight class market recorded the biggest rise in transaction volume of all weight classes in 2020 reaching nearly twice as many retail transactions as the previous year. The Sikorsky S-92 and Airbus H225 markets were both said to perform strongly. “Heavies represented 12% of all units sold in 2020 and 20% of the aggregate transacted value,” according to the report.

Medium twin market

The best performing model in the medium twin market – representing 40% of all transactions in the category – was the Leonardo AW139. Overall, medium twins represented 30% of all sales and nearly 40% of the total transactional value.

In the light twin market, the Bell 429 saw the biggest increase in sales year-on-year, accounting for 15% of all light twin sales last year. The light twin market was said to be stable over the past year, representing 58% of all units sold in 2020.

Total sales reached 143 units last year, up 10% compared with 2019. Retail sales totalled $516m up by 16% compared with the previous year.

Aero Assets’ annual Heli Market Trends report assesses the yearly performance of 13 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.