General Aviation Market Intelligence

China GA Aircraft Market – Helicopters – China GA Report 2021

China GA Aircraft Market – Helicopters – China GA Report 2021

The number of helicopters in mainland China accounts for 34% of its entire general aviation fleet. At the end of June 2021, there were a total of 1,049 helicopters. In terms of engine types, helicopters can be categorized as piston engine helicopters and turboshaft helicopters (turbine). Turbine helicopters can further be divided into single-engine, light-twin engine, medium multi-engine (medium), and heavy multi-engine (heavy) helicopters.

Single-engine helicopters ranked first amongst various helicopter types, with a market share of 37%, which was 3% less than the previous year. The Airbus H125, Bell 407 and 206, as well as Leonardo’s AW119 belong to this category and are also the most popular turbine helicopters. The single-engine helicopter is broadly used due to the lower purchase and operation costs as well as its highly flexible performance. It is usually applied in agricultural and forestry operations, air tours, and powerline inspections.

Piston helicopters ranked second, accounting for a market share of 35% of the entire helicopter fleet. The most popular piston helicopters are the Robinson R44 and R22, totaling 86% of the market. Whilst the performance of the piston helicopter is relatively weak, the purchase cost remains the cheapest. Apart from being used in aviation training, it is also used in air tours and aerial photography.

Each of the medium, heavy, and light-twin helicopters accounted for 13%, 8%, and 7% of the entire helicopter fleet, respectively. Thanks to stronger load capacity and larger cabin space, medium and light-twin helicopters are often used to carry out emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, law enforcement, and VIP transportation. Whilst most popular models of medium helicopters include the Leonardo AW139, Sikorsky S-76, Airbus H155, and Bell 412, most popular models of light-twin are the Airbus H135, Leonardo AW109, and Bell 429.

Heavy helicopters accounted for the second to last market share amongst the categories. Nevertheless, due to their strong functions and high reliability, the heavy helicopter is usually utilized in offshore oil services as well as search and rescue missions. The most popular models include the Airbus H225, Russian Helicopters M-171, and Sikorsky S-92.

Amongst various OEMs, Robinson was ranked the highest due to the popularity of its R44 and R22 helicopters, which accounted for a market share of 32%. Airbus, Bell, and Sikorsky each made up 23%, 17%, and 7% of the market share respectively, ranking second to fourth place.

COHC, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, was the top operator with 78 helicopters in its fleet. Aside from offshore oil services as its core business, COHC has set up branches nationwide to expand its helicopter services. Reignwood mainly operates powerline inspections, navigation, and agricultural missions. State Grid General Aviation is affiliated with the State Grid and headquartered in Beijing. Apart from specializing in powerline inspections, it has expanded its services to include Cargo Lifting, Ariel Prospecting, and Search and Rescue.

Usually, the business scale of companies that operate piston helicopters is smaller than that of turbine helicopters. Piston helicopters are also mainly used for aviation training. Amongst the operators, Rouer Aviation and Sichuan Tuofeng General Aviation ranked first and second respectively, regarding the number of helicopters in their fleet.