First-quarter results posted this morning from Airbus Helicopters reveal that the pandemic pain in the OEM rotorcraft patch is far from over, with new orders and deliveries falling sharply. New orders fell by 26 percent to 40 net orders, compared with 54 in the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, deliveries dropped to 39 helicopters, down by eight aircraft from a year ago.
The new orders included two Super Puma-family helicopters and one H160. The overall order book dropped 5 percent, to 664 helicopters, from 702 in the same period a year ago. Still, first-quarter earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) actually increased 17 percent to $75 million, compared to $64 million in the first three months of 2020, thanks to increased service revenues and unspecified reductions in program and research and development spending. Overall revenues dropped 2 percent, to $1.425 billion, from $1.455 billion in first-quarter 2020.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury characterized the results as “positive,” noting that Airbus Helicopters was able to increase its bottom line for the period on the strength of growing service revenues.