How helicopter leasing companies are bouncing back

"The size of the offshore market is expected to increase as operators continue to rationalize their balance sheets and seek efficient sources of funding in a capital constrained market." — Con Barber, Chief Investment Officer at Macquarie Rotorcraft Ltd.


“We’ve been in the business on the commercial side for 60 years, and we are not projecting the need to exit the market. It is a strong business and a strong market for us,” said Leon Silva, vice president of Global Commercial & Military Systems for Lockheed Martin Corporation. “It will be many, many decades in which we will remain in the civil helicopter market.”

Leasing companies call for discipline in supply of ‘stable’ offshore helicopter demand

“I think we’re now going into a phase where we’re starting to see the beginning of cyclical demand as well,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is, we don’t want to amplify that cyclical demand — and that requires a lot of discipline on the part of all participants.”

Energy companies ‘lack confidence’ in S-92 supply chain

“interesting listening to the sort of robust feelings” around the S-92. “I’m not sure that’s shared more generally in the customer community at the moment,” he said. “There is a lack of confidence there — primarily around supply chain issues, and the perceived lack of buy-in..."

Bundespolizei places record 44-aircraft order for H225s

The order is further confirmation of the H225’s appeal to the market following its general withdrawal from service in its primary offshore role.

PHI to add the AW189 to global fleet

“Not only are we investing in state-of-the-art aircraft like the AW189, which underscores our commitment to delivering innovative solutions and ensures we are well-equipped to provide unparalleled service to our global customers, but we are also fortifying..."

IBA data: Helicopter leasing rates exceed 10%, with more growth projected

In a market update for industry observers on May 15, 2024, IBA reported 300 lease transactions last year, down slightly from 2022 but outpacing previous years.

Helisul acquires Ecocopter to create new South American giant

“The acquisition of Ecocopter is part of the company’s expansion plan, allowing for safe and rapid growth,” said Humberto Biesuz, CEO of Helisul. “[This] will lead to expansion throughout the Latin American continent, initiating a multinational operation model unique in the sector.”

GD Helicopter Finance enters leasing sector with large H160 order book

The company enters the helicopter leasing sector at a time of renewed growth in the offshore sector.

Offshore helicopter experts: Fleet replacement will trump growth

Cirium’s lead appraiser, Sara Dhariwal, predicted that 90 percent of the forecasted 400 new deliveries for the offshore sector over the next 10 years will be replacements for existing aircraft, and that the sector will post a very modest 0.3 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the period.

Airbus: H225 could still have offshore role

Airbus Helicopters expects to deliver more than 100 of its H225 Super Pumas over the next five years — and believes the heavy-lift type will have a role to play in the offshore industry in the future.

Omni Taxi Aéreo: South American Giant

Brazil’s Omni Taxi Aéreo was only established in 2000, but it has grown to become the dominant offshore presence in South America. And its ambitions don’t end there.

Omni celebrates one year of operations in Guyana

In just one year of operations, Omni Helicopters Guyana Inc, a strategic collaboration with Roraima Airways, has achieved remarkable milestones, safely transporting over 50,000 passengers with an average of 200 flights per month.

Airbus Helicopters reports ‘record year’ for H145 model

Airbus Helicopters reported a “solid sales performance” in 2023, logging 410 gross orders (393 net orders) of helicopters in the civil and parapublic markets.

VIP and corporate helicopters: Elite fleets

The VIP and corporate sector is continuing its upward trajectory, with a confluence of factors behind its enduring strength.

Canadian helicopter industry debates major challenges it faces

In early November, the Canadian helicopter industry reunited in Vancouver to discuss the major challenges it's facing, from regulatory burdens to staff shortages — and the arrival of the Black Hawk.


The shortage of available helicopters in the offshore oil-and-gas industry is forcing producers to offer more lucrative, long-term contracts to operators, and petroleum companies that are slow to adapt risk being left behind, warns CHC Helicopter.


Spotting a gap in the market in an underserved region, Breton Air has established itself as a leading operator in Atlantic Canada in just four years.


Lisbon-based Omni Helicopters International (OHI), Latin America’s largest provider of air mobility and delivery solutions, announced that it has secured seven additional super medium helicopters for delivery in 2023 and 2024 to meet new customer demands, citing sustainability and product


Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, announced a signed purchase agreement with Caverton Helicopters Limited for a Bell 429, which will be utilized for offshore operations in Cameroon.

Helicopter part shortage presents ‘significant safety and operational risks’

A shortage of spare parts poses “significant safety and operational risks” for a key offshore oil and gas helicopter type, a leading trade body has warned.

Air Methods ‘operating normally’ as it files for bankruptcy protection

Air Methods, the U.S. air medical giant, has filed for bankruptcy protection as it enters into a restructuring agreement aimed at shedding $1.7 billion in debt.


The new Bell 525 Relentless carries a heroic enough name. But it has also been a long time coming. Unveiled at the 2012 Heli-Expo Dallas, Texas, the Bell 525 first flew on July 1st, 2015. Targeting the super-medium category, it’s designed to transport up to 20 passengers or a useful load of 8,200lbs (3,700kg). Powered by two General Electric CT7-2F1 turboshaft engines, the Bell 525 claims a maximum speed of 190mph (306km/h) and a range of 644 miles (1,037km).


Pity the poor old heavy helicopter. She spends years in storage during the downturn in the offshore energy sector. Then, when oil and gas markets finally start to pick up, the heavy helicopter risks finding herself edged out but the younger and more glamorous super-medium and medium helicopters. But reports of her demise would be far overstated, according to industry insiders consulted by Helicopter Investor.

Airbus Helicopters and PHI sign for 20 H175 and 8 H160 helicopters

Marignane – Airbus Helicopters and PHI Group (PHI) have signed a framework agreement that includes commitments for 20 super-medium H175 helicopters and 8 H160s to serve the energy market worldwide, including in the US. These 28 state-of-the-art helicopters will better position PHI to respond to the energy market’s expected growing offshore transportation needs. These commitments are composed of firm orders as well as purchase options that PHI may exercise during the course of the framework agreement.

Sikorsky support helicopters delivered to Falkland Islands

Two new Sikorsky S-92A helicopters have been delivered to Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC), the headquarters of British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI).

Heliconia: Who dares wins

Founded in Morocco and then finding great success off the coast of Senegal, Heliconia has shown itself to be a resilient operator, adept at navigating the complex West African offshore market.

International Aviation Marketing Ltd. Enhances Presence in South America with the Welcome of Steffen Bay

British Columbia, CANADA, August 7th — With great excitement, International Aviation Marketing Ltd. announces the addition of Steffen Bay to expand their South American Sales sector.

Airbus H160 receives FAA approval

The Airbus Helicopters H160 has finally received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), paving the way for the medium-lift aircraft to begin operations in the United States.

New Dawn for USA Offshore Wind

June 2023 marked a major landmark in the history of US offshore wind as the first two commercial-scale projects, South Fork and Vineyard saw construction commence with the first foundation installations. Prior to this only two small projects had been built - in 2017 the Block Island project came online with a capacity of 30MW and was followed in 2020 by a 12 MW (2 turbines) demonstration project.

Bell ‘virtually sold out’ across commercial product line this year

New Bell CEO Lisa Atherton said the company is seeing the strongest levels of demand in the civil helicopter market for 15 years, with the manufacturer “virtually sold out” through the rest of this year in almost all models.

Optima Aero to purchase assets of Uniflight Global LLC in Grand Prairie, Texas

Optima Aero, a global leader specializing in the supply of refurbished helicopter parts and engines, has entered into an agreement with Uniflight Global LLC, a significant player in the American aftermarket sector, to buy its assets located in Grand Prairie, Texas. The creation of Optima Aero USA aligns with the growth strategy of the Canadian company, aiming to accelerate its international expansion.

Bristow selected as preferred bidder for Irish Coast Guard contract

Bristow’s Irish subsidiary has been selected as the preferred bidder for the next Irish Coast Guard search-and-rescue (SAR) contract, estimated to be worth €670 million (US$715 million).

Bristow CEO: Offshore entering multi-year growth cycle

The offshore energy services market is “in the early innings of a multi-year growth cycle,” according to Bristow president and CEO Chris Bradshaw — but he cautioned that this won’t be reflected in a glut of new aircraft orders in the short term.

RotorLink Technical Services Inc. announces relocation

RotorLink Technical Services Inc, a leader in the aerospace industry, announced today that it has relocated to a new facility at The Langley Regional Airport. The move will enable the company to further expand its operations.

Core business: Heli SGI

High in the Indonesian mountains, the sound of an approaching helicopter fills a jungle clearing just large enough to contain the mining machinery upon which four men wait, their protective coveralls, gloves and helmets at odds with the tropical temperature.

The ‘new’ heavy-lift utility helicopters

Over the past decade, the fleet of heavy-lift helicopters dedicated to fire and utility work in North America has been undergoing a transformation.

SLEEP-WALKING INTO CRISIS: Offshore Crew-Change Challenges Ahead

As we prepare to publish our latest ‘Heavy & Super-Medium Fleet Census’ the summary of the data is clear. Demand for aircraft is up substantially and only a small handful of un-contracted aircraft remain. Supply chains are stretched and long lead-times are being quoted on critical parts. 

Leonardo: Heli-Expo orders confirm strong commercial market position

Following the company’s successful attendance at Heli-Expo 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia (March 7 to 9), Leonardo is announcing further growth within the commercial helicopter market, with new orders for nearly 40 aircraft of various models to several operators across Middle East, Asia, Americas and Europe primarily for energy support, rescue and public service duties, and VIP transport operations. Combined orders for the AW139, AW169, AW109 GrandNew and AW109 Trekker types have a total value of approximately €470 million, with deliveries between 2023 and 2026.

Leonardo’s AW139 fleet in Australia grows stronger with orders for six aircraft

Leonardo has announced further growth in presence of the AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter in Australia at Avalon, with orders for a total of six aircraft by three different prime operators: Babcock Australasia (Babcock), RACQ CQ Rescue (CQ Rescue) and StarFlight Australia. All six aircraft will be delivered from Leonardo’s Vergiate final assembly line facility in Italy during 2024.

Bell developing drop-in military capability for civil fleet

Bell is developing militarized versions of its civil helicopter line to bring a low-cost defensive rotary-wing capability to market, with the main target being countries that may have previously flown Russian-built airframes.

Bell targets 525 Relentless certification in 2023

Bell is targeting type certification of its long-awaited super medium 525 Relentless this year, as it says it is working on the “last few percent” of the approval program with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

CHC Helicopter Agrees to Sale of Offshore Helicopter Services UK

CHC Helicopter Group (CHC), the global helicopter company specializing in transportation and search and rescue operations, in addition to maintenance and overhaul services, announced the agreed sale of Offshore Helicopter Services UK (OHS UK) to Ultimate Aviation Group, a South African-headquartered international aviation business.

Outlook for Offshore: 2023

As the festive season fades and we enter a new year it’s an ideal time to reflect on the year gone by and wonder what might be to come in the year ahead. 2022 began with some cautious positivity for the offshore rotorcraft sector – the oil price started the year at $78/bbl (Brent spot) (compared to an annual average of $45/bbl in 2016 and not to mention $42/bbl during 2020 as the world faced the Covid-19 crisis) and investment plans tabled by major oil companies showed promise of some material recovery in the oilfields services and logistics sectors that had suffered 7 years of downturn.

Bristow to purchase six Leonardo AW139 helicopters to support its ‘UKSAR2G’ search-and-rescue program

Leonardo announced today that Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: VTOL) has signed a contract to procure six AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters to support the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (“UKSAR2G”) program by the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Aircraft deliveries are expected to start in 2023 and to be completed in 2024, joining an existing fleet of nine AW189 super medium twin-engine SAR helicopters as part of the UKSAR2G program.

The State of the Commercial Russian Helicopter Fleet

How the market may shift between Russian and Western manufactured helicopters has now been in question for an extended period of time. When conflict in the Ukraine first began and embargoes came down on Russia, we initially thought the impact on the helicopter industry to be immediate due to operators and foreign militaries seeking Western machines as a solution.

Resurgence in Heavy & Super-Medium Offshore Helicopter Utilisation

The latest census of active offshore crew transfer helicopters in the heavy & super-medium segment shows a substantial recovery in active aircraft and number of flights flown.

U.K. Requires CHC to Unwind Helicopter Services Deal

The CHC must unwind its completed acquisition of Babcock’s oil-and-gas offshore helicopter services to address competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decision follows an in-depth Phase 2 investigation into the deal.

Why Some Sellers Don’t List Prices

“There are a host of reasons why a seller or broker won’t include a price in a listing, but I’d argue if you really want to buy a helicopter, it doesn’t matter if the price is listed,” said International Aviation Marketing director, Brad Shaen.

Rocket Lab to attempt first mid-air helicopter capture of Electron rocket

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. a leading launch and space systems company, has announced that during its next Electron launch, a commercial rideshare mission currently scheduled in April 2022, the company will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of the Electron launch vehicle for the first time.

Sikorsky Stops Taking S-76 Orders; Looks to License Production

Sikorsky will no longer be taking orders for the S-76D following a period of low demand and high production costs that the manufacturer said made the type hard to build and deliver profitably.

PHI & Shell discuss 8-month ‘route-proving’ program with H160 in the U.S.

Petroleum Helicopters International and Shell have released more details of the innovative “route proving” program they will begin with Airbus later this year to launch the H160 in the U.S.

CHC, Babcock Merger Raises Competition Concerns in the UK

Offshore helicopter operator CHC's acquisition of Babcock's oil and gas aviation business has raised competition concerns in the UK.

Helicopter Offshore Sector Begins Slow Ascent

When world oil prices collapsed in 2014, most in the helicopter industry were expecting a quick cyclical recovery, not a series of prolonged and well-documented setbacks. This was then compounded by two years of Covid-19 headwinds.

Milestone Aviation Partners with Helitak to Develop Aerial Fire-Fighting Mission Capabilities for the S-92A

The Milestone Aviation Group Limited (“Milestone”), the global leader in helicopter leasing, has partnered with Australian fire-fighting equipment designer, Helitak Firefighting Equipment Pty Ltd (“Helitak”), to develop a new mission for the Sikorsky S-92A as a next-generation, multi-purpose fire-fighting platform.

AS332 L2 Super Puma certified in Canada

About two years ago, Questral Helicopters of Edson, Alberta, decided it was time to introduce the Airbus AS332 L2 Super Puma to Canada.

The Art of Buying a Helicopter

Helicopters are really cool! Given you are reading this article, I think that we can all agree on that. They are amazing machines that can perform everything from critical missions a hundred miles offshore to leisure trips to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.


When we first wrote about how Covid-19 was impacting the helicopter industry 6 months ago, we anticipated that there would be numerous bankruptcies. While the bankruptcies or full-blown bank repossessions have not materialized, we have seen more mergers, restructuring, business model modifications, and voluntary exits from players in the space. One of the significant realities that we have seen is that banks have been very patient with helicopter owners and operators, providing interest only payment schemes or lowering lease rents during this period. Financial institutions clearly do not want assets sitting idle without the operator maintenance and insurance on the machines.

International Aviation Marketing Enhances Presence in EMEA with the Addition of Guillaume Guehenneux as Commercial Director

International Aviation Marketing (IAM), a global leader in aircraft sales, has announced the addition of Guillaume Guehenneux as Commercial Director to their Sales and Business Development team for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Based in Paris, France, Guillaume is a helicopter market expert with over 20 years of experience in customer support, O&G operations and MRO. He is an excellent complement to the IAM business and skill set, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise from working with OEMS and operators.

Brad Shaen Quoted in Vertical Magazine on the Pre-Owned Helicopter Market

Our very own Director & Founder of International Aviation Marketing, Brad Shaen was recently asked to provide his opinion in the latest Vertical Magazine feature covering the pre-owned helicopter market.

Lease Finance Helicopter Transactions: Finding Creative Solutions During Covid-19

The ultimate objective in any aircraft disposal is the outright sale of a helicopter for cash. To make that happen, the buyer either has to have the capital themselves or have access to that capital through a lending facility. Needless to say, a helicopter is a highly capital intensive purchase and therefore self-funded cash buyers are hard to find. Unfortunately, what we're experiencing now with Covid-19 is that banks are either unable or unwilling to take on the risk of financing a helicopter asset even at a deeply discounted price. The results of this situation are obvious.

Interview with Air & Sea Analytics - Helicopter Market Perspectives from Brad Shaen

Air & Sea Analytics recently interviewed Director & Founder of International Aviation Marketing, Brad Shaen. They discussed the challenges that need to be overcome when doing business during the Covid-19 pandemic, the current state of the offshore helicopter business, Sikorsky S-92 helicopter resales & valuation, and the long-term resiliency of the helicopter market.

The IAM Banker's Playbook

Last week JPMorgan's CEO Jamie Dimon said “there should have been a pandemic playbook” to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Mitigating COVID-19 Related Risk Through Proactive or Distressed Aircraft Sales

The most difficult experience during the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that it was impossible to predict and therefore impossible to financially plan for. This has impacted us all in the aviation industry. It goes without saying that the longer this situation persists, the more challenges we will continue to face. It can be hard for anyone to admit that their business is distressed, so I would like to suggest a different perspective.

How Coronavirus is Impacting the Helicopter Industry

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to wreak devastating havoc on the world, the impact of this global pandemic on the helicopter industry has been on the top of my mind. Over the last week, we have seen numerous deals either paused or cancelled outright, and we can anticipate that these issues will further evolve as coronavirus dominates the world stage. Here are the some of the main factors that will significantly impact short-term helicopter transactions: