Home Automotive and Transportation Commercial Helicopter Market | Competitive Landscape [2031]

Commercial Helicopter Market

Commercial Helicopter Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Light, Medium, Heavy, Very Large), By Applications (Oil and Gas, Medical Services, Transport, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Others) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2023-2031

Report Code: SRAT55564DR
Study Period 2019-2031 CAGR 3.88%
Historical Period 2019-2021 Forecast Period 2023-2031
Base Year 2022 Base Year Market Size USD 5.98 Billion
Forecast Year 2031 Forecast Year Market Size USD 8.42 Billion
Largest Market North America Fastest Growing Market Asia-Pacific
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Market Overview

The global commercial helicopter market size was valued at USD 5.98 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 8.42 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 3.88% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The surge in disposable income and improved safety measures have led to a greater emphasis on increasing helicopter tourism and leisure activities worldwide. This factor will stimulate the global commercial helicopter market throughout the projected forecast period. Moreover, as the number of accidents in unreachable terrain has increased, there is a surge in demand for search and rescue operations, creating commercial helicopter opportunities for market expansion.

A commercial helicopter refers to a specific category of rotorcraft specifically engineered for various commercial applications, such as transportation, aerial work, and specialized activities. In contrast to military helicopters, which are often engineered with a focus on specialized combat or tactical operations, commercial helicopters find their primary utility in civilian domains. 

Commercial helicopters are available in diverse sizes and configurations, encompassing both diminutive, single-engine variants and more substantial, multi-engine aircraft. Typically, they are operated for non-military purposes by private individuals, government agencies, or civilian companies. Prominent makers of commercial helicopters encompass Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, and Sikorsky, among other notable entities. 

Market Dynamics

Global Commercial Helicopter Market Drivers

Growth in Helicopter Tourism and Leisure

The demand for commercial helicopters is surging worldwide with a rise in the use of helicopters for tourism and leisure. The valuation of the global helicopter tourism industry in 2022 stood at $659 million. Certain reports project that the market will attain a value of $800 million by 2028. In contrast, others express an even more optimistic outlook, asserting that the market will surge to USD 1,015 million by that same year. Tourism frequently depends on helicopters for sightseeing excursions, particularly in regions characterized by beautiful scenery.

In addition, high-net-worth individuals who prefer luxury travel also influence the demand for private helicopter services. Furthermore, the partnership between resorts and helicopter operators contributes to the helicopter tourism industry's expansion. For instance, a collaboration between the Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas and a private helicopter company provides hotel guests with helicopter flights within and around the Grand Canyon. Thus, the growing helicopter tourism and leisure industry drives the growth of the commercial helicopter market.

Increasing Deeper Offshore Drilling Activities

The global offshore rig count commenced an upward trend in 2016. The expansion of offshore exploration and production (E&P) operations has coincided with the maturation of onshore oilfields. For instance, the Permian Basin holds paramount significance in crude oil generation, where the output from defunct wells has slowed, limiting prospects for novel discoveries in those areas. In order to satisfy the increasing demand, the oil and gas industry is consequently exploring gas and oil in more profound regions. This is expected to lead to a later proliferation of offshore platforms.

Furthermore, significant expansion has occurred in deepwater E&P operations. According to the IEA, Deepwater accounted for 50% of all discovered oil and gas resources over the past decade. Hence, with the surge in offshore oil and gas production, the demand for commercial helicopters is expected to grow as helicopters are extensively employed to transport personnel and machines to offshore oil and gas platforms.

Global Commercial Helicopter Market Restraint

Increasing Helicopters Accidents

The multitude of components and moving elements in commercial helicopters increases the likelihood of an error. In the event of component or element failure, helicopter control will be lost. Furthermore, due to the perpetual motion of these components, there is a significant probability that they will degrade rapidly, potentially resulting in an accident. A growing number of commercial helicopter mishaps are occurring.

For instance, in July 2023, an accident with a tourist helicopter in the Mount Everest region of Nepal claimed the lives of six individuals. Since 2010, at least twelve fatal plane accidents have occurred in Nepal. The exponential rise in the frequency of accidents is an obstacle for vacationers contemplating helicopter travel. Thus, it is anticipated that these factors will impede market expansion.

Global Commercial Helicopter Market Opportunities

Rising Demand for Search and Rescue Operations

The demand for helicopter search and rescue services is mainly due to factors like the greater need to protect men and materials, technological evolution, and the changing nature of warfare. In recent years, the increasing number of accidents in inaccessible terrains has increased the significance of search and rescue operations and medical evacuation procedures. According to the findings of a study conducted in 2019, around 24% of the participants expressed their intention to get commercial helicopters specifically for utilization in emergency services and search and rescue operations.

The advent of next-generation helicopter avionics, control and display units, integration of self-protection systems, self-sealing fuel tanks, new terminal information systems, etc., in search and rescue helicopters is also propelling their adoption. Several countries globally are successfully deploying SAR helicopters. For instance, SAR Queen, a sophisticated AW101 All-Weather Search and Rescue Helicopter (NAWSARH) from Norway, is proving to be a vital asset in rescuing individuals throughout the country and is already producing significant operational impact. Thus, the growing use of commercial helicopters for search and rescue operations creates market expansion opportunities.

Regional Analysis

Based on region, the global commercial helicopter market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.

The North American region is growing exponentially due to a huge commercial helicopter fleet. For instance, in 2019, the United States possessed the most extensive collection of commercial helicopters globally, boasting over 9,000 units. The fleet size exceeds that of the second-largest fleet, which belongs to Canada, by more than fourfold. North America also possesses the most substantial market share globally in helicopter tourism owing to several factors, i.e., the proliferation of tour operators within the United States, the decrease in crude oil prices, and the surge in domestic travelers throughout the region. Helicopter trips to New York City, The Grand Canyon, and Hawaii are expected to remain popular destinations in the United States.

Furthermore, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States has recently put up a set of recommended measures to enhance the safety of sightseeing flights in Hawaii by plane and helicopter. These measures come in response to several tragic accidents, including a deadly incident in 2019 that resulted in the loss of seven lives due to adverse weather conditions. The FAA has developed a novel procedure for air tour operators to acquire authorization to execute controlled descents below designated altitudes to mitigate the risk of encountering adverse weather conditions during flight. According to David Boulter, the FAA Acting Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, implementing the new procedure aims to mitigate instances wherein pilots experience limited vision and, therefore, lose their sense of direction. Consequently, all these factors contribute to the growth of North American commercial helicopters.

The Asia-Pacific market is growing at a healthy rate owing to the presence of nations like China, India, and Japan in the region. The government initiatives to expand the helicopter industry in the region are driving the market expansion. For instance, The Indian government implemented the Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) initiative to enhance the aviation sector, encompassing helicopter operations. The inaugural implementation of this initiative took place in Uttarakhand state in February 2020. The route was allocated to Heritage Aviation, a company based in Delhi. Furthermore, many places with scenic beauty in this region, like the Hong Kong Skyline, Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, Sydney Opera House, and New Zealand's Fox Glacier, are experiencing a significant increase in popularity. These places use commercial helicopters to explore the landscape better, so their popularity boosts the Asia-Pacific commercial helicopter market.

In Europe, the necessity for the construction of offshore wind farms has grown substantially over time, in tandem with the European Union's objective of utilizing more renewable energy sources for energy production. Thus, the installation of substantial wind farm components and the heightened utilization of offshore helicopter services for transportation have ensued. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the market demand for commercial helicopters. For instance, in April 2020, the contract to provide rescue helicopter services for the Hohe See and Albatros offshore wind farms in Germany was awarded to WIKING Helicopter Services of Germany. The company also contracted emergency medical evacuation services and the associated personnel to the wind farms.

Additionally, Europe boasts the second-largest market share in the global helicopter tour industry, followed by North America, mostly driven by a surge in interest observed in popular tourist destinations like Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. These factors contribute to the European commercial helicopter market expansion. Moreover, the key players in the region are thriving to expand the helicopter services in the region. For instance, Blade Air Mobility is in the process of establishing Europe's preeminent helicopter passenger service. Blade has agreed with its European subsidiaries to purchase, for USD 50 million, the commercial passenger transport operations of Héli Sécurité, Monacair SAM, and an unidentified European helicopter operator located in the south of France. Such factors are anticipated to spur market expansion.

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
By Type
  1. Light
  2. Medium
  3. Heavy
  4. Very Large
By Applications
  1. Oil and Gas
  2. Medical Services
  3. Transport
  4. Law Enforcement and Public Safety
  5. Others
Company Profiles Airbus S.A.S. Enstrom Helicopter Corp. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. Sikorsky Aircraft Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. Lockheed Martin Corporation MD Helicopters, Inc. Leonardo S.P.A. Robinson Helicopter Company JSC, Russian Helicopters
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Singapore Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global commercial helicopter market is segmented by type and application.

Based on type, the global market is divided into light, medium, heavy, and very large.

The light helicopter segment experienced the greatest volume of deliveries in 2021, owing to the aircraft's vertical position, which enabled it to land, take off, and hover, and enter and exit confined spaces. The market is dominated by Airbus Helicopters, Bell, and Robinson Helicopters about new deliveries intended for commercial applications. One of Airbus's earliest and best-selling helicopters, the H125, was upgraded recently. The aircraft's hover ceiling OGE at maximum take-off weight is increased by more than 1,500 feet. At the same time, its external and internal load-lifting capabilities are enhanced for a significant portion of the flight domain (up to +140 kg). The maximum take-off weight remains unchanged at approximately 2.5 tons.

Based on application, the global market is segmented into oil and gas, medical services, transport, law enforcement and public safety, and others.

Air-based medical services offer several benefits compared to conventional road ambulance services, as they circumvent the challenges associated with extensive travel durations and limited accessibility to remote regions. Medical personnel aboard air ambulance helicopters are equipped with the requisite equipment and accessories to provide patients with initial emergency care. Market expansion is propelled by the introduction of fully medically equipped air ambulances and the rising incidence of unintentional incidents.

Furthermore, the WHO states that road accidents claim the lives of approximately 1.35 million individuals annually. It is the primary cause of mortality among individuals aged 5 to 29 years. Providing chronically ailing patients with emergency services that are both timely and effective has the potential to preserve their lives and substantially augment the demand for helicopters for use in medical services.

Market Size By Type

Market Size By Type
  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy
  • Very Large
  • Recent Developments

    • March 2023- THC (The Helicopter Company) intends to augment its fleet of Leonardo AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This expansion will bolster search and rescue (SAR), emergency medical services (EMS), and corporate transport operations.
    • May 2023- Air Corporate, a prominent Italian business aviation operator, announced on the final day of EBACE 2023 a definitive order for 43 helicopters from Airbus. The contract represents Airbus's most substantial commercial helicopter order in Italy. The helicopters, which will be utilized for utility operations and various private and business passenger services, will be delivered over the following years.

    Key Players

    Commercial Helicopter Market Share of Key Players

    Commercial Helicopter Market Share of Key Players
    Airbus S.A.S. Enstrom Helicopter Corp. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. Sikorsky Aircraft Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. Lockheed Martin Corporation MD Helicopters, Inc. Leonardo S.P.A. Robinson Helicopter Company JSC, Russian Helicopters Others

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is the estimated growth rate (CAGR) of the global Commercial Helicopter Market?
    The global Commercial Helicopter Market size is growing at a CAGR of 3.88% from 2023 to 2031.
    North America has the largest share of the market.
    Growth in helicopter tourism and leisure and increasing deeper Offshore drilling activities are the key driver for the growth of the market.
    Rising demand for search and rescue operations is one of the upcoming trend in the market.
    The key players in the global Market include Airbus S.A.S., Enstrom Helicopter Corp., Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft, Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Lockheed Martin Corporation, MD Helicopters, Inc., Leonardo S.P.A., Robinson Helicopter Company, JSC, Russian Helicopters.

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