Commercial Rotorcraft Shipments up 10% Compared to 2017, GAMA Says

By Frank Wolfe | November 20, 2018
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AW139 Ornge EMS

Photo courtesy of Leonardo

Shipments of commercial rotorcraft are up 10 percent compared to this time last year, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said in its third-quarter shipments and billings report.

Piston rotorcraft deliveries around the world increased by nearly 16 percent — from 190 to 220 units, while turbine rotorcraft shipments increased by more than 8 percent — from 471 to 510 units, GAMA said. Yet, billings are down compared to last year, most likely driven by a soft first quarter of 2018, GAMA said. Rotorcraft billings for 2018 thus far are $2.6 billion, compared to $2.7 billion last year.


The first quarter of this year saw deliveries of 215 rotorcraft worth about $676 million. Yet, those numbers ramped up to 279 deliveries worth $984 million in the second quarter of 2018. The third quarter saw some tailing off to 236 deliveries worth $936 million, according to GAMA.

Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Bell have largely been responsible for the rotorcraft increases overall this year. Airbus has seen particularly strong sales growth this year. While the first quarter of 2018 saw Airbus deliver 49 helicopters worth about $208 million, the company delivered 83 helicopters worth $341 million in the second quarter of this year, and the third quarter saw the company deliver 70 rotorcraft worth $432 million, GAMA's report said. The third quarter saw increases in deliveries of H130, H145, H175 and H225 helicopters.

Leonardo's rotorcraft sales in the second and third quarter of this year were about $438 million and $311 million, respectively, compared to about $270 million in the first quarter. Bell delivered 43 helicopters worth $145 million in the third quarter of 2018, 57 helicopters worth $151 million in the second quarter and 46 helicopters worth $124 million in the first quarter of this year.

"This is one of those few times since the great recession that we have seen all segments up in shipment numbers," GAMA CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement. “While there remain some soft spots in a few segments, including business jet deliveries and impacts being felt from global trade disputes, I’m optimistic about our industry’s performance in 2019 given continuing healthy demand for tax expensing, stabilization of the used market, and the number of new products being introduced to the marketplace."

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