Photo courtesy of Robinson Helicopter Co.
There were 861 rotorcraft shipments worldwide in 2016, down 16.9% from 2015, the General Aviation Manufacturers Assn. (GAMA) reported. GAMA’s General Aviation Aircraft Shipment Report also showed that worldwide rotorcraft billings in 2016 were victim of a 23% decrease from 2015, representing some $1 billion.
Looking back to 2013, Robinson Helicopter Co. has taken one of the biggest hits in shipments of those listed in GAMA’s reports. In 2013, the manufacturer shipped 523 units. In 2016, Robinson shipped 234. This is reflective of, among other factors, a global economy that changed significantly over the course of those three years. Robinson President Kurt Robinson recently told R&WI that he thinks the worldwide market is starting to come back around.
“Everything actually seems to be picking up a little bit. It's interesting to see,” Robinson said. “I think you can tell that during the last couple of years … a lot of different countries’ economies were down. But we have started to see [some] resurgence. So we're positive moving forward, and we think sales are going to increase.”
So far, the rotorcraft industry in general has reported decreased numbers in sales for 2016 (some numbers including military sales). But, like Robinson, all have projected a positive outlook. Lockheed Martin saw revenues increase in 2016, aided in part by about $4.6 billion brought in by its acquisition of Sikorsky. Boeing said its full-year 2016 numbers reflected “strong commercial deliveries and services growth across the company.” And Bell Helicopter CEO Mitch Snyder said last December that the company plans to combat misfortune by continuing investments for future platforms, relationships with policy leaders and innovation.