For the first time in four years, North American purchase plans for civilian turbine-powered helicopters is up, while global deliveries could climb to 5,600 aircraft through 2017, according to a forecast by Morristown, N.J.-based technology and manufacturing company Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON).
Based on the company’s customer expectation surveys, Latin American is expected to see the largest increase in fleet replacement deliveries at 34 percent. Deliveries exclude military acquisitions but include government and private security orders. The rosy forecast suggests buyers are more confident in the economic feasibility of replacing aging fleet aircraft, which are used in various industries, including corporate or government transport, rescue operations, tourism and shuttling workers to and from offshore oil-drilling platforms.
Honeywell’s Aerospace segment, which is based in Phoenix, is the largest manufacturer of aircraft engines and other aviation products used in the industry.
The purchase plans, what customers expect their orders to be in the near future, is up 35 percent from last year’s survey. The U.S. and Canada together are expected to take about 27 percent of sales through the next half decade, while Africa and the Middle East will see only a 6 percent share. European customers will make up 28 percent of the orders, while the Asia-Pacific region will demand 19 percent, according to the survey.
"The buyer confidence reflected in this year's survey is a much needed shot in the arm for the industry," said Brian Sill, vice president of Honeywell’s aftermarket helicopter sales.
Meanwhile, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. of Hartford, Conn., announced on Tuesday that Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE:BRS) has agreed to buy 10 S-76D helicopters with an option to buy another 16. The aircraft reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $10 million each.
Houston-based Bristow provides worldwide air shuttling services to the offshore energy industry. It has about 500 aircraft in its global fleet. Sikorsky is a unit of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX).