For Sikorsky, 2013 was a mixed bag, according to company president Mick Maurer, who gave his company’s year-end summary presentation this morning. While the company reached a record backlog of more than $15 billion, it also recorded an 8-percent drop in sales, to $6.3 billion, the decrease driven largely by a drop-off in U.S. government orders on both the OEM side and the aftermarket side last year.
In the commercial market, the United Technologies subsidiary saw an increase of more than a half-billion dollars year-over-year in top-line growth, with a backlog of more than $2 billion. “A new growth area for us has been China,” Maurer said, noting the rotorcraft manufacturer has taken in almost $300 million in orders from Chinese operators over the past year and expects its aircraft to be in service with all three of China’s major offshore oil operators. The OEM is using Chinese industry to build the airframe for the S-76D, and the tail for the S-92, and most of the parts that go into the company’s light helicopters. “We certainly believe that the industrialization that we are doing in China is helping us bring sales to China,” noted Maurer, who expects the same synergy to grow in India, where Tata produces all of the company’s S-92 cabins in Hyderabad.
The company also posted $1 billion in contract sales for its Total Assurance Program, which provides maintenance insurance covering the cost of parts replacement and repair on new Sikorsky aircraft. “We’ve been the first OEM to get FAA credit based on the lives of parts for using HUMS data to extend the replacement period on some of the parts on the aircraft. [The approval] will allow us to drive the cost of maintenance down,” said Maurer.
Last month, the company’s S-76D made its long-anticipated entry into service. “The early returns are very favorable,” said Maurer noting 2014 will be the year the new medium cabin upgrade begins to make an impact.