While the used helicopter sales showed modest improvement from the second to third quarter, nearly $1 billion worth of used rotorcraft remain on the market, with a large increase in the inventory of medium twins. That’s the latest analysis from Toronto-based helicopter consultancy Aero Asset.
The firm found that retail sales volume in the third quarter increased 40 percent quarter-over-quarter, but that was still down 17 percent from the 2019 quarterly average. Meanwhile, supply for sale increased 8 percent compared with the second quarter and 13 percent from the 2019 quarterly average. The deal pipeline contracted 30 percent versus the second quarter and was 60 percent smaller than third-quarter 2019. Retail sales in the light twin market increased by 75 percent in the third quarter versus the second quarter, but the preowned supply remained stable.
Light twins are proving to be the most liquid category, with the Leonardo A109E and Bell 429 posting absorption rates of one year or less. But move up in weight class and problems emerge—supply in the medium twin market increased by 45 percent and retail sales decreased by 33 percent in the third quarter versus the second quarter. The worst performer in the medium twin market was the Airbus H155, where the supply rate increased by 70 percent between the second and third quarter, and the absorption rate ballooned to nearly four years. The supplies of heavies on the market decreased by 25 percent compared to the second quarter, while sales volume was steady and values firming.