Look for Honeywell Aerospace [Booth 4945] to start probing the impact of unmanned aircraft systems on turbine-powered helicopter sales next year in its annual market survey.
"That’s an area of research that I plan to put into the 2017 survey," Honeywell Aerospace’s director of market analysis, Charles Park, told R&WI. As the company’s researchers go through their process again late this year of interviewing more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight department managers around the world, “we’re going to ask about substitution of drones in certain missions, for things like pipeline surveillance, law enforcement missions, maybe general utility applications,” said Park.
“We want to pick up whether that is an emerging alternative to manned aircraft,” he added.
Honeywell said its latest survey, released today, indicates turbine helicopter deliveries this year through 2020 will drop by about 400 from the number reported in last year’s survey. Its 18th annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook forecasts 4,300 to 4,800 civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2016 to 2020.
“The current global economic situation is causing fleet managers to evaluate new helicopter purchases closely,” said Carey Smith, president of Defense and Space at Honeywell Aerospace. “That’s why we’re seeing a more cautious five-year demand projection compared with previous years.”
Honeywell said helicopter fleet utilization generally declined over the last year. It is expected to improve this year, said the company, but at a reduced rate.
A bright spot is Latin America, said Honeywell, as it showed “strong fleet replacement and growth expectations.” Latin America led all global regions in the rate of new aircraft purchase plans despite an economic slowdown in Brazil, the company noted.
Latin American respondents to the survey said they favor light single-engine models for just under half their planned acquisitions, said Honeywell, followed by light twin-engine models at about 35%.
The Middle East/Africa region had the second-highest new purchase expectation rate around the world, said Honeywell. Up to 30% of respondent in that region said their fleets are slated for a new helicopter replacement or addition. More than 60% of planned new helicopter purchases are for intermediate and medium twin-engine models.
Purchase expectations fell 2% in North America, but it still is the world region with the highest projected demand. More than 60% of planned North American purchases were identified as light single-engine models
Purchase plans in Europe (including Russia) decreased slightly, said Honeywell, “with continued weakness in reported Russian buying plans.” It added that the sample of Russian respondents “remains small, which continues to add some uncertainty to the overall European results.”