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Product Profile: Helicopters

HS CODE:

880211: Unladen weight < 2,000 kg
880212: Unladen weight > 2,000 kg
 

• The helicopters market is projected to proliferate from US$ 31.7 billion in 2019 to US$ 37.4 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 2.8% in the coming six years.
• The dominant helicopter market trends include hybrid electric propulsion, autonomous flight technology, electro-optical and infrared, ultra-light multi-mode radar flight vision system and electronic flight instruments.
• In 2019, global trade of helicopters increased as USA experienced a surge in exports from US$ 0.84 billion in 2018 to US$ 1.89 billion in 2019.
• India’s exports of helicopters have started rising while imports have plummeted due to which there is a slight trade surplus for this product.

The helicopter is a kind of aircraft which is lifted or propelled by one or more sets of horizontally revolving overhead rotors. The recent helicopter market trends include hybrid electric propulsion, autonomous flight technology, electro-optical and infrared, ultra-light multi-mode radar flight vision system and electronic flight instruments.

The global helicopter market is primarily divided into civil & defence helicopter segments. Civil helicopters are widely being used by government bodies mainly for law-enforcement activities, and emergency response services. Other than government bodies, the civil helicopter market caters to commercial segments such as oil & gas companies and corporate offices. Light 2 ton helicopters with turbine engines and 2–3-ton single-engine helicopters have remained prevalent among new helicopters. It is anticipated that the global civil helicopter market will witness an increase in demand from the oil & gas sector due to expanding offshore activities. As a result, global OEMs are continuously developing helicopters with specialized safety features specifically intended to perform such activities.

Figure: Trade size of helicopters, in US$ billion

In 2019, global trade of helicopter increased as USA experienced a rise in exports from US$ 0.84 billion in 2018 to US$ 1.89 billion in 2019. Overall, major economies exporting helicopters are Italy, USA, Germany, France, Canada and UK. Similarly, major importing economies of the said product includes, China, Norway, Japan, USA, Australia, Canada and Thailand. The helicopters market comprises major players such as Airbus Helicopters SAS (France), The Boeing Company (US), Bell Helicopters (US), Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin (US), Leonardo S.p.A. (Italy), Russian Helicopters (Russia), and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Japan).

Driving Demand Factors

The burgeoning demand for technologically innovative helicopters is influencing the growth of the helicopter market. Eclectic technological enhancements have been implemented in the airframe, engine, and emission system of helicopters, thereby making them more sustainable and resilient and better performing in varying environmental conditions. The market is also experiencing a surge in demand for high-performance helicopters from the oil and gas industry, for transporting personnel between the land and offshore rigs. Therefore, the increasing use of helicopters across various industries has further led to an elevated demand for technologically advanced civil and military helicopters.

Figure: Global Helicopter Market Share, By Weight (in %)

Source: Fortune Business Insights

By type, Military helicopters

• Heavy helicopters ( >8.5 tons)
• Medium helicopters (4.5 -8.5 tons)
• Light helicopters ( <4.5 tons)

By Type, Civil & commercial

• Heavy helicopters ( >9.0 tons)
• Medium helicopters (3.1 –9.0 tons)
• Light helicopters ( <3.1 tons)

By Application (utility of helicopters): Military

• Attack & reconnaissance helicopters
• Transport helicopters
• Maritime helicopters
• Training helicopters
• Search & rescue helicopters

 By Application (utility of helicopters): Civil & commercial

• Transport helicopters
• Civil Utility helicopters
• Emergency rescue & medical support helicopters
• Offshore helicopters

The augmentation of the aviation industry in emerging economies is providing a plethora of opportunities to the market players. Since the aviation industry is witnessing a positive trend, particularly in countries such as China and India, Western original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are strengthening their position here. Countries such as Indonesia and Philippines have also shown a robust growth potential, as these countries are witnessing a rise in the demand for new helicopters, in addition to the growing need for replacing the aging fleet. Thus, emerging economies provide ample opportunities for the growth of the helicopter market.

India’s Helicopter Market

Source: ITC Trade Map

From data, one of the interesting facts is that India’s exports of helicopters have started rising while imports have plummeted due to which there is a slight trade surplus for this product. UK and South Africa are the major export destinations of India helicopters. Kinds of helicopters exported by India includes Dhruv (advanced light helicopters), Chetak, Cheetah and Lancer. Last year India has made some ambitious targets related to defence sector which includes aggressive promotion of indigenous defence development, plummeting country’s defence import dependence (import substitution) and further changing India’s status from a ‘defence market’ to ‘defence export hub. This will act as a catalyst for India to buttress helicopters exports.

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