Bell saw higher revenue and profit in the third quarter despite delivering one fewer commercial helicopter and a 10 percent decline in parts and services, the Fort Worth-based Textron subsidiary reported yesterday. For the quarter, the airframer delivered 41 commercial helicopters, compared with 42 in the same period last year. That included fifteen 505s, nineteen 407s, and seven 429s versus seventeen 505s, fifteen 407s, nine 429s, and one 412 in the third quarter of 2019.
Bell’s commercial helicopter business was largely challenged by the effects of Covid-19. “I think that we've certainly seen some softness on the commercial side,” Textron Inc. president and CEO Scott Donnelly told analysts on a conference call yesterday. “And it's largely driven by the fact that…it’s hard to get a lot of face time with customers, it's hard to kind of just get deals done. As you know our Bell commercial business is heavy on foreign customers. A lot of fleet operators, a lot of our bigger aircraft are international, and it's still a challenge to sell and do demos.”
A strong military business helped drive revenue $10 million higher year-over-year, to $793 million, and $119 million in profit, a 15 percent margin. Donnelly attributed the company’s military performance in the quarter to higher aftermarket volume on existing contracts supporting the V-22 tiltrotor and H-1 helicopter programs.
For the first nine months of 2020, Bell earned $2.43 billion in revenue with a profit of $352 million. That compares with a profit of $317 million on revenue of $2.29 billion last year.