Helicopter broker Rotortrade believes the focus will remain on the preowned helicopter market as new civil turbine helicopter sales are expected to remain under pressure. According to the Singapore-based company, the preowned rotorcraft market is now more than 2.5 times larger than the new segment, forcing OEMs to reevaluate trade-in requests as part of transactions.
Rotortrade (Booth 56) said that among the 1,500 preowned helicopters sold in 2019 (versus 600 new deliveries), approximately two-thirds were single-engine models led by the Airbus AS350 AStar and Bell 206 families.
While twin turbines had a smaller number of sales, their value accounts for a disproportionate 70 percent of the preowned market, with Leonardo and Sikorsky taking center stage. In the heavy category, civil preowned sales remain limited, but Rotorcraft noted a resurgence of the AS332 and H225 Super Pumas reconfigured from offshore transport to firefighting and utility.
In terms of vintage, two-thirds of the rotorcraft sold were older than model-year 2005. The average single-engine helicopter sold (model-year 1997) was slightly older than the twin-engines (model-year 2000), while the Leonardo AW helicopters averaged the youngest year-of-manufacture (2008). Bell anchored the opposite end of the range, with the oldest average year of manufacture (1992).
Among the top preowned market drivers listed by Rotorcraft are price, maintainability, ease of customization, airworthiness authority (helicopters with FAA or EASA STC'd modifications are more easily exported and operated globally), age, and life cycle cost.