Used Helo Market Better than Bizjets, but Still Wea

 - September 29, 2009, 11:02 AM

Market conditions for pre-owned rotorcraft are “below normal levels and falling,” according to a monthly rotorcraft survey from UBS Investment Research in early September.

The firm’s latest rotorcraft composite index, which measures overall business conditions, came in at 40, about 5 percent higher than the previous UBS survey. But it remained 10 points below conditions indicative of growth.

While that index rose, the overall business conditions score for helicopters dropped 15 percent, to 3.6. On a scale of zero to 10, five signifies normal conditions.

Pre-owned helicopter transaction prices are roughly 20 to 30 percent lower from the peak, according to UBS aerospace analyst David Strauss. “While our helicopter survey clearly indicates a deteriorating market on the back of corporate and oil and gas weakness, it continues to come through above our similar survey of the business jet market.” He attributed the sector’s stronger showing to the relative strength of diversified helicopter end-markets that include the relatively stable medical/law enforcement segments. And he added, “Helo customer interest appears to be stabilizing, although financing remains weak.”