Australia remained the largest market– with a fleet of 865 operational civil turbine helicopters as of the end of 2020. Mainland China, Japan, New Zealand, and India followed, with 773, 673, 541 and 288 helicopters, respectively. Together, the top five countries, in terms of fleet size, accounted for more than 70% of the total 4,385 turbine helicopters in operation.
Mainland China and Australia recorded the most net additions in 2020, adding 55 and 21 helicopters to their respective fleets. Japan and New Zealand also saw notable increases in their helicopter fleets – by nine and seven units, respectively. Papua New Guinea on the other hand recorded the largest number of net deductions in 2020 – 12, the only region to experience a double-digit fleet reduction for two consecutive years.
Greater China recorded the greatest increase in turbine helicopters in 2020 with 55 – 7% growth since yearend 2019. Oceania, East Asia and South Asia also experienced an increase in their helicopter fleets – by 17 (1%) units, 11 units (1% growth) and seven units (2% growth), respectively.
Notably, despite mainland China having the most net additions in 2020, three Chinese operators had a combined total of 65 helicopters in storage (airworthy, registered, and operational so included in fleet numbers) at the end of 2020. These included a significant number of AW119s and Bell 407s, as well as lesser numbers of AW109s, H225s and H135s.
As the largest and most mature civil turbine helicopter market in Asia-Pacific, Australia’s fleet stood at 865 helicopters at the end of 2020, 21 more helicopters than at the end of 2019. During 2020, 32 helicopters left the fleet, while 11 new and 42 pre-owned helicopters were added. In Australia, the SAR segment had the most net deductions in 2020 – seven fewer when compared to 2019.
Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, had 826 helicopters in 2020, 55 helicopters more than 2019, which was mainly attributed to the net addition of 55 helicopters in mainland China. In addition, Taiwan had a net increase of five helicopters between 2019 and 2020. Hong Kong saw five helicopters deducted from its fleet in 2020. There was no change to the helicopter fleet in Macau.
Japan ranked third in Asia-Pacific with 673 helicopters in 2020. Compared to 2019, there were nine more helicopters, giving it a growth rate of 1%. Japan ranked first in the EMS segment, with 82 helicopters at the end of 2020.
New Zealand had 541 helicopters in its fleet and had a net addition of seven helicopters between 2019 and 2020. Within the net additions, there were 22 pre-owned additions and two new deliveries, whilst 17 helicopters left the country completely.
In India, there were 288 helicopters at the end of 2020 – three more helicopters than 2019, equivalent to a growth rate of 1%. India ranked third in Asia-Pacific in the offshore segment with 46 helicopters at the end of 2020.
South Korea’s fleet increased by less than 1% between 2019 and 2020, which can be attributed to the growth in the SAR segment. Notably, Russian Helicopters had the biggest market share in South Korea.
Indonesia’s helicopter fleet saw a net fleet deduction in 2020 of three aircraft, with six fleet removals and three pre-owned helicopter additions. In the offshore segment, Indonesia experienced a continuous reduction in fleet size between 2018 and 2020, with one further helicopter leaving the fleet during 2020.
Malaysia had 136 helicopters in 2020 – was three less than at the end of 2019. Malaysia’s fleet gained one new and three pre-owned helicopters in 2020, but also saw seven aircraft leave its fleet.
Papua New Guinea (PNG)
PNG’s helicopter fleet decreased by 12% which was the most across the Asia-Pacific region. One pre-owned helicopter did join the fleet, however there were a total of 13 aircraft leaving PNG in 2020.
There was a net addition of one helicopter to the fleet in the Philippines in 2020. Whilst one new and two pre-owned helicopters joined the fleet, there were also two helicopters leaving the country.
Thailand had 102 helicopters at the end of 2020, with a net deduction of eight helicopters across the year being equivalent to a reduction of 7% over 2019. There were two new deliveries and two pre-owned helicopters additions, whilst 12 helicopters were removed from the fleet.
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