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Helicopter Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Civil & Commercial, Military), By Application (Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Corporate Service, Search and Rescue Operation, Oil and Gas, Defense, Homeland Security, Others), By System (Airframe, Engine, Avionics, Landing Gear System, Cabin Interiors), By Weight (Lightweight, Medium Weight, Heavy Weight), By Point of Sale (OEM, Aftermarket), and Regional Forecast, 2022-2029

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI101685



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The global helicopter market size was valued at USD 45.21 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow from USD 48.74 billion in 2022 to USD 74.46 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.24% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a growth of -11.7% in 2020 as compared to 2019.


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Helicopters are rotorcraft with horizontally spinning roots that give them life and thrust. The rotors allow for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) as well as hovering in a specific location for an extended period of time. These rotorcrafts are designed to perform various activities and flights in congested or isolated places where fixed-wing aircraft are unable to fulfill mission requirements. In terms of efficiency and reliability, these machines have advanced dramatically during the last two decades. They're employed for a variety of purposes, including military, commercial, and other operational use.


Inconsistency in Helicopter Demand amid the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the global economy and aviation sector. Increased economic restraints, lower travel and tourism activities, and decreased industrial output have all resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, several commercial end customers suffered losses, and this industry witnessed decreased flight activity. The pandemic also disrupted supply chains in the aviation industry, resulting in a major drop in deliveries.

  • Airbus S.A.S sales figure declined 25 to 30% in terms of number of units. Similarly, in 2020, Airbus helicopters reported a 20 % drop in overall bookings.

  • Textron, Inc, a Texas-based OEM, stated that the COVID-19 so far has not disrupted Bell’s manufacturing and day-to-day operations.

  • Furthermore, in 2020, Boeing stated that the COVID-19 has not impacted the production and delivery of Apache helicopters and the company is monitoring the supply of international supply chain for signs of slowdown.


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Increase in Adoption of Single Engine Operative Mode to Minimize Fuel Consumption

Single Engine Operative (SEO) allows twin-engine flying machines to shut down one of its engines while in cruise, save fuel, climb rapidly, and also restart it again. These machines are intended to supplement flight-by-wire with mechanical flight control.

Furthermore, in July, 2020, Airbus developed a five-bladed H145 helicopter certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with deliveries in 2021. This five bladed H145 has exceptional fuel efficiency and noise reduction capabilities along with sleet airframe.

In November 2021, an Airbus H225 helicopter flew with Safran Makila 2 engines powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). When compared to ordinary jet fuel, sustainable aviation fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 90%.


Increased Demand for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopters to Boost Market Growth

Helicopters are widely used for different applications in the military as well as commercial sectors. Nowadays, there has been a rise in the use of helicopters in applications such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and search and rescue, which drives the market growth. Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) and Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters are used for a variety of applications such as transportation of equipment, personnel, and patients.

In case of emergency medical service, it plays a crucial role in saving life at the remote locations. As it has features such as high speed, strong mobility, and less vulnerability to climatic conditions. Most of the developed countries, particularly Germany and the U.S. have developed a well-organized, command-efficient rotorcraft fleet for emergency medical rescue operations. HEMS transports patients directly to a trauma center for definitive care through the specialized crew to the incident for triage treatment in less time.

Emerging Helicopter MRO Propels Market Growth

The Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) is an emerging segment that contributes to the largest market in the global market. It ensures the airworthiness of helicopters for the safety of passengers, operations, and other crew members. Some of the key players, such as Airbus S.A.S (Netherlands), Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.), Safran (France), Textron Inc. (U.S.), and others in the rotorcraft MRO segment drive the market growth.

Furthermore, rotorcraft MRO includes the replacement of different systems or repair. rotorcraft MRO includes airframe services, landing gear, engine services, spare parts & component management, component services, and cockpit & cabin upgrades. The timely maintenance of all parts improves reliability, cost efficiency, fuel efficiency, and reduces the turnaround time. The MRO operations improve rotorcraft performance, thus driving the global market growth.


Increasing Helicopter Backlogs from Major Players Hampers the Market Growth

An increase in delivery backlogs from key manufacturers such as Airbus S.A.S., Textron Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corporation hampers the growth of the market. There has been a rise in demand for various rotorcraft applications but due to limited production capacities, the OEMs are not able to deliver the required rotorcraft in the expected timeline.

Airbus S.A.S. contributed 54% of worldwide helicopter market share in deliveries of helicopters in 2018. The number of orders for Airbus Helicopters in 2018 was 413, out of that, the company delivered 356, which resulted in a backlog of 57 rotorcrafts Similarly, Bell Textron also witnessed a backlog of USD 4.5 billion in 2017 due to the increasing number of rotorcraft backlogs. The increasing difference between the number of orders and deliveries hampers the growth of the global market.

Similarly, in 2019, the number of orders for Airbus Helicopters was 369 and the company delivered 332, resulting in a backlog of 37 helicopters


By Type Analysis

Commercial Segment to  Dominate the Market Owing to Rising Demand for Tourism

The type segment is segmented into civil & commercial and military.

The civil & commercial segment has dominated the market for the past three decades as these types of machines perform a wide range of applications such as air ambulance services, tourism, and emergency rescue operation. Moreover, civil helicopters have come a long way in terms of development and advancements. The replacement of outdated commercial helicopters, as well as the development of new rotorcraft models by key market participants using sophisticated technologies such as electric-hybrid propulsion, is likely to boost helicopter growth in future.

The military segment is segmented into attack, transport SAR, anti-submarine warfare/maritime, and others. Several countries throughout the world have raised their defense spending to improve border security and acquire modern weaponry and technologies. This could help the military rotorcraft business flourish in the coming years. Some of the motivating forces for the usage of military rotorcraft are advancements in aircraft technology, the need to replace older rotorcraft, and the recent increase in disasters.

By Application Analysis

Rising Defense Expenditure and Procurement Contracts Related to Lightweight Helicopters Will Drive the Growth of Defense Segment

Application segment in the market is segmented into Emergency Medical Service (EMS), corporate service, search and rescue operations, defense, homeland security, oil and gas, and others.

The defense segment is projected to be the highest market share and is anticipated to dominate the market during 2022-2029. Technological advancement and aging of helicopter fleets for defense applications have forced most of the countries to procure new rotorcraft in recent years. Moreover, the rising border security issue in the Asian countries is facilitating the governments to procure a large number of military helicopters. Thus, these aspects are expected to propel the defense segment during the forecast period.

The emergency medical service (EMS) is projected to show significant growth during the forecast period. This is due to an increase in emergency medical services and demand for corporate services in the European countries is anticipated to boost the growth of the segment.

By System Analysis

Airframe Segment Will Grow with Highest CAGR Due to Increase in Rotorcraft Deliveries

Based on system analysis, the market is segmented into airframe, engine, avionics, landing gear system, and cabin interiors.

The airframe segment is anticipated to display noteworthy growth during the forecast period. The growth is due to increase in demand for lightweight rotorcraft with increased use of composite material, 3D printed parts and increasing number of rotorcraft deliveries across the globe are prominently expected to drive the growth of the market.

The avionics segment is projected to demonstrate major growth during 2022-2029 due to increase in demand for helicopters with advanced avionics and introduction of technically advanced software & hardware systems in the rotorcraft for increasing operational efficiency. This is expected to drive the growth of the segment during the forecast period.

By Weight Analysis

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Increasing Government Expenditure on Border Security to Accelerate Heavy Weight Segment

The weight segment is classified into lightweight, medium weight, and heavy weight.

The heavy weight segment is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period.

Increasing demand for helicopters with specific applications in the military segment, such as cargo transportation, troop transportation and high passenger carrying capacity in commercial applications, and others are expected to drive the growth of the heavy weight segment.

By Point of Sale Analysis

Blend of Real-time Data & MRO Providers to Boost the Aftermarket Segment

By point of sale segment, the market is bifurcated into OEM and aftermarket.

The aftermarket segment is anticipated to grow significantly during the review period. The demand for aftermarket components and systems from key OEM players is high. The programs related to replacing conventional components with technologically advanced software and sub-systems propel the market growth.

The OEM segment is anticipated to grow significantly during 2022-2029. This is due to the increasing demand for technologically advanced AI and IoT-based helicopters for military and commercial applications that drive the growth of the OEM segment.


North America Helicopter Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)

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The market is segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the rest of the world.

North America dominated the market in 2021 and was valued at USD 17.15 billion. The growth is attributed to military modernization programs, the highest defense expenditure, and large number of procurement of advanced lightweight helicopters from the U.S. Army. Furthermore, Boeing Company, Bell Textron, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and others propel the market growth in the region.

Asia Pacific is expected to display significant growth during 2021-2028. The growth is attributed to increase in defense expenditure from emerging economies such as India and China. The rise in procurement of advanced helicopters and increase in number of fleet size are expected to enhance the market growth. Furthermore, the presence of key players and OEMs such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Kawasaki industries, and others drives the market growth.

Europe will witness significant growth due to increase in defense expenditure from the U.K., Russia, Germany, and other European countries. The Russian and European made aircraft are trusted worldwide for their high precision and reliability standards on military platform for combat and surveillance applications. Presence of OEMs such as Airbus, Leonardo Spa, and United Aircraft Corporation drives the market growth.

The rest of the world is expected to showcase moderate growth from 2022 to 2029. This growth is due to improved expenditure on the procurement of next-generation rotorcraft from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and others. The growing programs for modernization of rotorcraft fleet and rising defense budget in Latin American and the Middle Eastern countries are expected to foster the market growth.


Key Players are Focusing on Development and Expansion of Product Portfolio to Sustain their Market Position

Helicopter manufacturers are aiming to introduce next-generation technologies to develop helicopter scopes. In October 2021, Global Medical Response (GMR) signed a contract with Airbus for procurement of 21 Airbus helicopters including H125, H130, and H135.

Furthermore, helicopter manufacturing companies aim to gain the top-of-the-line enterprise by adopting strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, joint development, long-term contract & agreement, and investment in R&D.



  • June 2021 – HAL manufactured ALH MK-III Helicopters with advanced sensors that will enable ICG to take challenging tasks that were introduced into the Indian Coast Guard. These aircraft are positioned in Bhubaneshwar, Porbandar, Chennai, and Kochi.

  • June 2021–The U.K. Royal Air Force 9RAF) signed a contract worth USD 578 million with Boeing for procurement of 14 extended-range chinook heavy lift rotorcraft.


An Infographic Representation of Helicopter Market

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The global helicopter market report provides a detailed industry analysis and focuses on key aspects such as top companies and leading applications. Moreover, the report includes market trends, market segmentation, global market size, business strategy, growth opportunities, and regional development status. In addition to the key factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several direct and indirect factors that have contributed to the market growth in recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD billion)


By Type, Application, System, Weight, Point of Sale, and Geography

By Type

  • Civil & Commercial

  • Military

By Application

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

  • Corporate Services

  • Search and Rescue Operation

  • Oil and Gas

  • Defense

  • Homeland Security

  • Others


By System

  • Airframe

  • Engine

  • Avionics

  • Landing Gear System

  • Cabin Interiors


By Weight

  • Lightweight

  • Medium Weight

  • Heavy Weight


By Point of Sale

  • OEM

  • Aftermarket

By Geography


  • North America (Type, Application, System, Weight, Point of Sale, and Country)

    • U.S. (By Weight)

    • Canada (By Weight)

  • Europe (Type, Application, System, Weight, Point of Sale, and Country)

    • U.K. (By Weight)

    • Germany (By Weight)

    • France (By Weight)

    • Italy (By Weight)

    • Russia (By Weight)

    • Rest of Europe (By Weight)

  • Asia Pacific (Type, Application, System, Weight, Point of Sale, and Country)

    • China (By Weight)

    • India (By Weight)

    • Japan (By Weight)

    • Australia (By Weight)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Weight)

  • Rest of the World (Type, Application, System, Weight, Point of Sale, and Sub-Region)

    • Middle East & Africa (By Weight)

    • Latin America (By Weight)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 45.21 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 74.46 billion by 2029.

The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.24% during the forecast period (2022-2029).

The defense segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The Boeing Company and Airbus S.A.S are the leading player in the global market.

North America held the highest market share in 2021.

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