Supply Chain Issues Lead To Drop in Bell Deliveries

 - July 29, 2022, 11:18 AM
Bell delivered nine fewer Bell 505s in the second quarter for a total of 15, but executives are encouraged that demand remained strong. (Photo: Bell)

Bell commercial helicopter deliveries dropped by almost 28 percent, to 34 aircraft, in the second quarter as the supply chain delayed several shipments, Scott Donnelly, chairman and CEO of the helicopter manufacturer's parent, Textron, told analysts on Thursday.

Deliveries of the Model 505 slid by nine units, to 15, while Bell 407 shipments decreased by six units, to nine, in the quarter. Meanwhile, Bell 429 deliveries edged up two units, to eight, and deliveries of the Model 412 intermediate remained flat at two. As a result of the dip in deliveries, commercial revenues decreased by $34 million.

The biggest decrease, however, came on the military side, with H-1 deliveries cut in half to four and aftermarket slowing. V-22 deliveries were also down by a pair, to three. The combination led to a $170 million decline in military revenues.

In total, Bell brought in $687 million in the second quarter, a $204 million drop from a year ago. In turn, profit was down from the second quarter of 2021 by $47 million, to $63 million.

However, Donnelly was encouraged by the strength in commercial demand, which helped buoy the backlog by $500 million, to $5.3 billion.

“Bell will be the [Textron unit] that's a bit of a challenge” for the year, Donnelly said. “We are starting really strong performance on the commercial side. The demand environment is good. We'll certainly have a lot more deliveries in the back half of the year but they are fighting through supply chain issues and inefficiencies.”

He further conceded that Bell expects to see lower volume on the H-1 aftermarket. “There’s just been lower demand, lower flying in, in that side of the house.”

However, he did point to upsides such as South Korea’s selection of the Bell 505 for use as its next military trainer, as well as the receipt of a $518 million contract award to upgrade Canada's fleet of CH-146 Griffon aircraft.

The big issue ahead will be the decision on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, which may now come in the October timeframe—a few months back from what had been expected. Bell is fielding its V-280 Valor for the program, and Donnelly said, “We continue to feel good about that program.”