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HELICOPTER SERVICE OUTLOOK
Waypoint Leasing announced US$107 million in orders at the show
for an additional 16 helicopters from Airbus — H135s, H145s and for
the first time H175s. The H135s an 145s will be leased to operators
in the EMS and utility sector, while the H175 will be available for
oil and gas, search and rescue (SAR) and public service missions.
Waypoint already had earlier commitments for 26 H135s and H145s.
“ We are beginning to see sustained demand for heavy aircraft in
the market, while at the same time recognising and responding to
the growing demand for interest in ‘Super Medium’ aircraft that are
well suited for a wide range of missions,” explains Ed Washecka,
Waypoint Leasing CEO.
Recently, Waypoint closed a lease agreement with Air Born Indone-
sia for an ex-CHC Helicopter AW139 for long-term support of mining
operations in Indonesia. Waypoint has placed numerous ex-CHC
aircraft, formerly operating in the oil and gas sector, in mining and
utility roles while CHC restructures. It has also recently delivered a
H145 on lease to Andes Air in Peru to support local mining operations.
It is also exploring new opportunities as the oil and gas sector
begins its recovery. For example, Waypoint recently signed a lease
agreement with Acher Aviation in South Africa for an H145, sup-
porting offshore oil and gas operations — the first lease of the type
in oil and gas. “ We are enthusiastic about introducing the H145
into the offshore market and believe this aircraft will demonstrate
the significant opportunities for modern light/medium twins in the
segment, which has traditionally been served by legacy helicopter
platforms. We believe that this will be the first of many H145 leases
to offshore operators,” says Washecka.
Airbus also signed a letter of intent at Heli-Expo with China’s
Ruo’er General Aviation Development Group for 12 H125s, with a
confirmed order for four. The H125s will be operated by Ruo’er com-
pany Lhasa Snow Eagle General Aviation, based in Lhasa, Tibet, for
emergency medical services, humanitarian relief, aero-sightseeing
and pilot license training.
Smaller orders were also placed, including Japan’s Nakanihon Air
Service ordering two Bell 429s from Bell Helicopter for EMS.
The new orders are a welcome sign after the volatility of the last
couple of years. The Asia-Pacific region was no exception to the
downturn, according to Asian Sky Group’s latest Asia-Pacific Civil
Helicopter Fleet Report. “ The continued downturn in oil and gas and
other commodity prices, infrastructure limitations, strict regulations
and overall economic and political uncertainties contributed to the
regional industry again having to navigate through a tumultuous
climate,” it says.
By the end of 2016, the civil helicopter fleet (turbine only) in the
Asia-Pacific region totalled 3,924 — 4 percent up on a year earlier.
Although an increase, Asian Sky Group notes that this is a “notably
smaller ” increase than in previous years, with only half of the 34
countries experiencing year-on-year growth.
China recorded the fastest growth in the region at 21 percent year-
on-year growth with the addition of 85 helicopters to the country ’s
fleet in 2016, totalling 492 helicopters. Some 20 new general avia-
tion operators were established in mainland China during the year,
operating in firefighting, powerline patrol, aerial survey and other
multi-mission work. EMS, corporate use and SAR are all expected
to expand in the country in the near term.
Some 61 percent of the region’s helicopter fleet is located in just
four countries — Australia, Japan, China and New Zealand. Australia
has been hit with the downturn in offshore oil and gas and onshore
iron ore mines, along with a currency exchange rate that made new
purchases more difficult. The country has seen, however, growth in
the EMS sector, both by private operators and government agencies,
notes the report.
The Japanese market grew just 2 percent during the year, with
most of this growth coming from the law enforcement sector. New
Zealand, meanwhile, recorded a healthy 7 percent increase in 2016.
Pre-owned aircraft accounted for the bulk of the deliveries — 39 out
of 42 aircraft — with four of the additional helicopters to be used for
charters, one for corporate use and 37 for multi-missions.
The four major helicopter original equipment manufacturers —
Airbus, Bell, Sikorsky and Leonardo — make up nearly 90 percent
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ASIAN HELICOPTER DELIVERIES
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