Industry Analysis



Increased demand in the military sector is driving the helicopter market, making this $16 billion market in North America a lucrative one. The used small aircraft market is a busy one that is dominated by a few key marketplaces.
Competitive landscapes have been completed for the helicopter and maintenance industry. They may be viewed in the attached spreadsheet. They are also referenced in their appropriate sections with explanation of key points.

Global Helicopter Market

  • The global helicopter market is projected to grow from $21.3 billion in 2020 to $36.9 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 11.7%. (Please note that CAGRs of 6.96% and 3.8% were also located. The 11.7% figure was used, as it was mentioned multiple times).
  • By 2027, the market is expected to reach $68.34 billion according to Globe Newswire. They show the market standing at $48.19 billion in 2019, which is much higher than the estimate above. It is unclear what they are counting as part of the market that the first figure did not. It has been determined that the first figure is a more realistic view of the market, as it was verified by multiple market reports.
  • The increased demand for military helicopters will be the source for a significant share of the growth. It will also be driven by the increased demand for EMS helicopters and an increased demand for lightweight helicopters that are fuel and operational efficient.
  • COVID-19 could affect helicopter production and services by 7-10% globally in 2020. The demand is expected to fully recover by 2022.
  • global helicopter marketdrivers

North American Helicopter Market

  • The market size in 2019 was $14.41 billion and is expected to witness a high growth rate in the coming years. If we apply the global CAGR of 11.7% to these numbers (which is probably higher due to North America leading the market), we have a market size of $16.10 billion in 2020, and $28.05 billion in 2025.
  • North America is expected to lead growth in the helicopter market due to the mature helicopter market in the US. In 2018, they had more than 25% of the global market share, making them the largest market.

United States Helicopter Market

  • No reliable market figures were located for the US. The North American market share is the best proxy in this case, as the US makes up the lion’s share of that market.
  • The graphic below is shared to get a better understanding of the demand for different sizes of helicopters in the US. The light segment held more than 30% of the market share in 2018, with the medium segment holding the dominant market share. (Please note that the dollar amount appears to be a typo, as it is not verified anywhere in the article.)
  • us helicopter market
  • The US is a lucrative market for helicopters as the government is investing to enhance the quality and effectiveness of helicopters and their systems. Demand for light transportation helicopters is another factor the US is a leading market.
  • An additional driver is the replacement of the many aging helicopters.

Helicopter Market TAM

  • The global helicopter market is divided, with 66.82% civil and commercial, and 33.18% government purchases.
  • Honeywell forecasts 4,000-4,200 civil helicopter deliveries from 2019-2023.
  • According to Airbus SAS, there will be almost 22,000 new rotorcraft needed in the next 20 years.
  • In 2018, over 1,300 light helicopters were delivered. This is the most desired class of helicopters according to Honerwell’s Outlook released in 2018. 25% of European respondents of the Outlook’s survey mentioned plans to buy light single-engine helicopters in the near future.
  • There were 30,895 civil helicopters in service, according to a 2017 trends report.
  • There were 2,848 registered helicopters in Canada in 2018.
  • In the US, there were 10,511 helicopters that flew 3,320 hours in 2017. 3,270 were piston engines, and 7,241 were turbine. This number is expected to grow to 13,005 helicopters flying 4,166 hours by 2027.
  • The average age of the helicopters was 17.9 years.
  • Detailed fleet information for all major countries may be viewed in this report.

Recent Developments

  • In June of this year, Boeing received an order for 24 of its AH-64E Apache Helicopters from Morocco. The company will build and deliver the new Moroccan Apaches under a contract with the US Army through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process.
  • “In June 2020, Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) ordered one new H225 and four H135 helicopters from Airbus as part of its fleet modernization program. The five new helicopters will complement the agency’s law enforcement capabilities. The new order will take NPA’s Airbus fleet to 30.”
  • “In July 2019, AE Industrial Partners, LP (AEI), a private equity firm, announced entering into a definitive agreement to acquire Columbia Helicopters.”
  • “In June 2019, Boeing was awarded a contract for next-generation MH-47G Chinooks for the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command. A total of 15 MH-47G Block II Chinooks are to be delivered under this contract.”
  • “In March 2019, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced the release of its new H145//BK117 D-3 helicopter (BK117 D-3), which was jointly developed along with Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH. “
  • “In March 2019, Airbus Helicopters was selected by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) of the UK, to provide support and maintenance for its fleet of 19 helicopters following a competitive procurement. “
  • “In January 2019, Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, introduced a configuration and full-scale vertical-takeoff and landing (VTOL) air taxi vehicle at CES 2019. The air taxi, Bell Nexus, is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system and features Bell’s signature powered lift concept.”

Helicopter Market Ecosystem

helicopter market ecosystem

Key Players in Helicopter Market

  • To determine the key players, market research was used. This is not a fragmented market and there are not many key players. For the research we focused on Airbus, Boeing, Bell, MD Helicopters, and Robinson Helicopter. While MD and Robinson are not the biggest players, they were chosen as they are US players. The only non-US company included was Airbus, as they are the biggest player in the market. Lockheed Martin was not included as their offerings are very similar to Boeing, and they are not helicopter focused, as the other companies are, with the exception of Boeing.
  • Airbvus SAS, Leonardo SPA, Bell Textron, and Russian Helicopters contributed around 78% market share in 2019.
  • The competitive landscape for these companies may be viewed in the attached spreadsheet.

Used Small Aircraft Market

Insights on the small aircraft market as a whole, and the global used aircraft market have been shared, as the true size was hidden behind a paywall.

  • The ultralight and light aircraft market is predicted to grow from $5.5 billion in 2020 to $11 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 7.7%. Note, this is not the used market. The only used market report for small aircraft was behind a paywall.
  • light aircraft market
  • The global used aircraft market will grow at a CAGR of 7% from 2018-2022.
  • 43% of the market share belongs to the Americas.

Used Aircrafts Sold Annually

  • $444 million worth of civil helicopters were sold in 2019, down 5% from 2018 ($446.2 million).
  • For the first 9 months of 2019, 1,775 helicopters were sold worldwide. This is an average of 197 per month. Using this we can triangulate that there were approximately 2,367 helicopters sold worldwide in 2019. This is a 9.7% decrease from 2018.
  • The average helicopter was on the market for 1.75 years before being sold.
  • 63% of the used helicopters sold in 2019 were for VIP fleet operations. “Demand for VIP helicopters has increased during the last two years, and it comes from private buyers purchasing light single-engine turbines through to high-net-worth individuals seeking to purchase twin-engine VIP configured medium helicopters,” explains Mark Clancy, president and CEO, HelicopterBuyer.
  • Medium-twin helicopters only accounted for 30% of the preowned volume in 2019.
  • Only 2% of the sales were for airframes older than 20 years old.
  • Bell 407s were the most popular helicopter on the market, with only 2.8% of the fleet for sale, compared to the others which have a 5% average.
  • 9/2019 market

Used Aircraft Marketplaces

  • The used aircraft marketplace segment seems to be dominate by a few big players, then several additional smaller players. The list is not 100% inclusive of every marketplace, but we feel confident that is very close, and we are very confident that we have found all the key players in this segment.
  • Aircraft Exchange (Row 14) was an interesting find during this research. They are very new to the segment and only deal with those that are accredited by the International Aircraft Dealer’s Association. They claim that they were involved in 60% of all preowned sales worldwide in 2019 and had $5.4 billion in sales from 615 aircrafts.
  • There seems to be many instances of cross posting on multiple marketplaces due to the metrics they share. Many sites have high visitor and sell counts, that indicate crossover for posting.
  • The competitive landscape has been placed in an additional tab on the spreadsheet.

Small Aircraft Maintenance Industry

Research in this vertical confirmed the initial thoughts that there would not be much publicly available information. It seems the market focuses on repair industries as a whole, and is not segmented by small aircraft. This could possibly be due to the fact that it is easier, and more lucrative, for market research to focus on the industry as a whole.

Market Information

  • The US aircraft maintenance and repair industry has a combined annual revenue of $20 billion. Globally, the revenue climbs to $82.4 billion.
  • In 2020, the MRO market for airframes in the US is $4.5 billion, engines is $9.6 billion, components is $4.8 billion, and line MRO is $3.3 billion. The US segment is expected to have a 2.4% CAGR through 2030.
  • The US industry is concentrated, with the 50 largest firms generating 65% of the industry revenue.
  • The industry is segmented by the type of maintenance provided, like airframe or engine, rather than by the size of the aircraft.
  • The rise of demand in the helicopter market will also have a rise in the demand for replacement of conventional rotorcraft parts in the aftermarket segment.
  • Another driving factor will be the growing number of ultralight and light aircraft deliveries.
  • MRO Marketmro forecastmro forecast


  • Maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities are known as MROs. Any facility that engages in and conducts aircraft maintenance professionally falls under this umbrella.
  • Light plane maintenance is usually handled by a local fixed-base operator. They will inspect the planes for issues, provide maintenance, repairs, and overhauls.

Maintenance Programs

  • Many aircraft owners enroll in a maintenance program to ensure that maintenance and costly components are taken care of. There are typically two different kinds of programs, ones that are offered by the manufacturer, and those offered by third parties. They are billed based on predicted hours of use.
  • A good program will provide ongoing maintenance, overhauls, and loaner engine services in a manner that lets the owner have a predictable budget.
  • Aircraft that are enrolled in these programs tend to have higher resale values and sell quicker than those who do not.
  • These plans seem to be the most popular with owners of single planes and small fleets. Owners of large fleets seem to have a better chance of being able to cover for airplanes that are in the need of repair.

Business Registries

  • Independent repair stations make up a significant number of MROs. They are often small and owned and operated by a handful of employees. They tend to specialize in one or two niche areas.
  • The FAA maintains a database of all repair stations in the US.
  • Dun and Bradstreet also has a list, but it is organized by revenue from largest to smallest.

Emerging Technologies

  • The MRO industry is very dependent upon human labor and is considered to be roughly a decade behind other industries in terms on technology adoption.
  • Robotics, drones, additive manufacturing, AI, analytics, and intelligent machines are all hot topics in the industry. This article summarizes advances in these areas.

Top MROs

  • According the PR Newswire the top 20 commercial MROs are:
  • AAR Corporation
  • Air China Technic / Ameco Beijing
  • Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance
  • Airbus
  • Boeing Company
  • British Airways Engineering
  • Delta TechOps
  • Fokker Technologies
  • GE Aviation
  • Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd
  • Iberia Maintenance
  • Lufthansa Technik
  • MTU Maintenance
  • Rolls Royce Holdings PLC
  • SIA Engineering Company
  • SR Technics
  • ST Aerospace
  • TAP Maintenance & Engineering
  • Turkish Technic
  • United Technologies Corporation
  • APA Services shares a slightly different top 10 list:
  • AAR Corporation
  • Aviation Technical Services
  • Airbus SAS
  • Boeing Company
  • Bombardier Inc.
  • British Airways Engineering
  • Flightstar Aircraft Services
  • GE Aviation
  • ST Engineering
  • Pemco

Interesting Sourcing Company

  • ePlane was discovered during this research. Although it does not fall into any of the above categories, it has been included for its uniqueness. This marketplace is a nose to tail sourcing solution that lets users buy, sell, exchange and loan aircraft parts. It has real time integration for inventory, shipping logistics, automation, and analytics.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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