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Helicopter Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Civil & Commercial and 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), By Weight (Light Weight, Medium Weight, and Heavy Weight), Point of Sale (OEM and Aftermarket), and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

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



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The global helicopter market size was USD 50.42 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with witnessing a negative impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market will exhibit a lower growth of 2.0% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during the historic period. The market is projected to grow from USD 52.56 billion in 2021 to USD 69.20 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 4.1% during the 2021-2028 period. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft that gains lift and thrust by horizontally spinning rotors. The rotors provide vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities and help to hover at a particular location for a while. These rotorcrafts are designed to carry out different operations and flights in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft cannot execute mission needs. Over the last two decades, these machines have evolved significantly in terms of efficiency and reliability. They are used for military, commercial, and general applications. Over the last few years, rotorcraft aviation demonstrated its strongest air traffic growth in the general aviation sector, including emergency medical services. The market is expected to witness significant growth owing to the increasing trend of lightweight rotorcrafts in the aviation industry.

Today, these rotary-wing aircraft are used for a wide range of applications, including passenger and cargo transport, military operation, construction, search & rescue, tourism, medical services, law enforcement, agriculture, news & media, firefighting, and aerial photography, and others. Technological developments are another trend that will reshape the future of the market. The key players are researching ways to make these machines better. Crash tests help in determining the reliability and strength of aircraft. For instance, a study by NASA shows how advanced composite materials can keep passengers safe during a crash. New advancements could help engineers create bigger, better, and faster machines with a seating capacity of 100. The lightweight rotorcrafts have eventually been used for commercial applications due to their fascinating cabin interiors and easy operating systems. This high demand for lightweight rotorcrafts will, in turn, contribute to the growth of the market during the forecast period.

Covid-19 decelerates Sales & Development of New Models

The overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry is negative. The aircraft sector was not as affected as commercial airlines and even took center stage in many countries, helping allocate patients efficiently amongst strained medical facilities. Regardless, this industry has been hit hard and will face difficult times in new orders and sales in the near future.

  • Airbus sales figures ran closer to a 25- to 30-percent drop in terms of units. Airbus SAS CEO Bruno Even said that as current production is supported by orders placed pre COVID-19 and ongoing French government support, there should be no immediate effect on output. However, as these orders reach completion through 2021, the company anticipates witnessing a relative shortfall in 2022 and 2023.

As we discussed above, the pandemic has disrupted the production of helicopters. Some companies were merely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Bell Textron, a Texas-based OEM, stated that the Covid-19 has so far not disrupted Bell’s manufacturing and day-to-day operations.  But the company is monitoring the situation and affirms the best quality product and services for its customer as an utmost priority.


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Adoption of Single Engine Operative Mode to Minimize Fuel Consumption

Single engine operative (SEO) mode allows a twin-engine flying machine to shut down one of its engines while in cruise, save fuel, climb rapidly, and restart it again rapidly when needed. These machines will be supplementing flight-by-wire with mechanical flight control, including smart functions such as auto trimming.

  • In July 2020, the five-bladed H145 helicopter developed by Airbus was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), clearing the way for customer deliveries in summer 2021. The certification covers the full range of capabilities, including single pilot and instrument flight rules (IFR) and single-engine operations (Cat.A/VTOL), along with night vision goggles capability. In addition, the five-bladed H145 has a sleek airframe, which contributes to the exceptional fuel efficiency and noise reduction capabilities.

Elimination of Conventional Tail Rotor and Horizontal Stabilizers to Contribute to Weight Reduction

The concept of eliminating tail rotor and horizontal stabilizers will reduce the weight and maintenance cost for the helicopter. The tail rotor will be replaced by multiple fans and an allowance for a venting system on both sides of the tail so that it can be thrust in either direction. These aircraft will be equipped with fly-by-wire and autonomous capabilities that enable maneuvering by a single pilot. The hybridized propulsion system will power the aircraft. This combines advanced thermal engine cores for the main propulsion with electric distribution and motors to drive the system for further control and vehicle operations.

  • Bell Textron has unveiled a new future concept featuring the range mentioned above of next-generation technologies.


Rising Demand for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to Favor Market Growth

A rise in the smart city projects in India and China, the increasing government initiatives for improving medical facilities, and rising investment by private hospitals in infrastructure development create a high demand for emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters. These services prefer an air ambulance, which helps the emergency medical response team reach any remote location. Hospitals prefer air ambulance services over roadway transportation owing to benefits, such as fast and safe transportation of patients to the hospital. Moreover, the rise in human organ transportation through air ambulance also supports the growth of the Emergency Medical Services(EMS), which would drive the market growth in the coming years.

  • The COVID-19 has proven once again that rotary-wing machines are irreplaceable when it comes to saving lives. The rotorcrafts that have airlifted urgent supplies eased the burden on hospitals and have also saved hundreds of lives. The major companies benefited from limitation as they continuously delivered rotorcrafts for Emergency Medical Service and were getting new orders for products and services in these tough times.

  • As we discussed above, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to transport COVID-19 patients from rural areas, states, or countries that faced a shortage of ICU beds or specialized equipment during this pandemic

    • Life Flight Network, an air ambulance provider in the U.S., transported 600 COVID-19 patients in 2020

Increasing Application of Lightweight Helicopters in Various Fields to Propel Growth

Companies such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Airbus SAS offer lightweight aircraft for applications in tourism, corporate services, and search and rescue operations. The use of advanced technology and lightweight systems and components in the aircraft has helped reduce the machine's overall weight and cost. Several countries, namely Singapore, India, and China, would focus on smart city development in the next few years. In these countries, air taxis can be used as a means of public transport, thus creating opportunities for lightweight machines.

In February 2021, Jaunt Air Mobility, an aerospace company that designs and builds vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft for advanced air mobility, announced that the US Air Force awarded the company a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract. Under the contract, Jaunt will team with Penn State University and Continuum Dynamics, Inc. (CDI) to employ advanced acoustical analysis techniques to characterize noise from Jaunt's unique Jaunt Journey Compound Gyrodyne VTOL aircraft concept.


Adoption of Drones and UAVs for Commercial Application May Hinder Market Growth

Before the drone Era, helicopters were used for various applications, including media, entertainment, advertisement, agriculture, emergency management & disaster response, and forest monitoring. But now, the same operations can be performed by using drones instead of a helicopter with reduced maintenance costs. Yes, the drones aren’t capable of covering hundreds of miles’ distance and long flight hours, but drones are capable of entering the region of high risks where it can hardly fly. Other than commercial applications, UAVs and drones have replaced helicopters in surveillance and aerial imaging applications for military and other security organizations. Hence the increased demand for drones and UAVs is anticipated to affect the market negatively in forthcoming years.


By Type Analysis

Commercial Segment to Dominate the Market Owing to Rising Demand for Air Ambulance Services

Based on the type, the market is segmented into commercial and military rotorcrafts

The commercial segment has dominated the market for the past three decades as these types of machines perform a wide range of applications, including air ambulance services, tourism, and emergency rescue operations. However, commercial helicopters have come a long way in terms of development and advancements. The commercial segment is expected to rule the market for another decade due to the rise in procurement for modern generation aircraft, specifically for air ambulances and emergency medical services. The modern rotorcrafts are light in weight and have taken passenger comfort as the top priority.

The military segment is further segmented into the attack, transport, SAR, anti-submarine warfare/ maritime, and others. The attack segment is expected to grow significantly due to the increased defense spending by different countries to strengthen their border security and procure advanced weapons and technologies. This may help the growth of the military rotorcraft market in the years to come

By Application Analysis

Rising Usage for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) to Boost Segment Growth

Based on application, the market is segregated into corporate services, search & rescue operations, oil & gas, defense, homeland security, and others.  

The emergency medical service (EMS) is anticipated to grow significantly during the forecast period. Rotorcrafts are widely used to transport patients suffering from COVID-19 that require time-sensitive therapies in a critical care center. Besides, they are used for transporting emergency medical supplies in rural and developing regions. The growing prevalence of COVID-19 and other chronic diseases will result in a considerable increase in the number of life-threatening medical emergencies or patients that lack immediate access to a healthcare facility, thereby driving the demand for emergency medical services.

By System Analysis

Engine Segment to Dominate Owing to Increasing Research & Development Activities by Key Manufacturers

Based on systems, the market has been grouped into the airframe, engine, avionics, landing gear system, and cabin interiors.

Amongst these, the engine segment is estimated to substantially drive the market during the forecast period.  Some key manufacturers, namely GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce, are investing in hybrid engine technologies. The engine manufacturers are also conducting research and development activities to design efficient hybrid helicopter engines. Moreover, a rise in the fuel cost would create demand for hybrid-electric propulsion as they are electrically operated. For instance, In June 2019, Airbus SAS integrated an electric propulsion system as a backup system into the H130 demonstrator. This was part of a research project that Airbus SAS carried out. The technology would provide safety in case of a single-engine shut down during operation.

By Point of Sale Analysis

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

Based on the point of sale, the market is categorized into OEM and aftermarket.

Out of these, the aftermarket segment is expected to grow rapidly during the forecast period. The rise in demand for aftermarket components and systems is replacing conventional components with technologically advanced components and systems. Also, a rise in the integration of real-time data with the MRO service providers would help increase the helicopter's operational efficiency and would increase the safety of the passengers.

By Weight Analysis

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Increasing Government Expenditure on Border Security to Accelerate Lightweight Segment

Based on weight, the market is fragmented into lightweight, medium-weight, and heavyweight. Amongst these, the lightweight segment is expected to showcase maximum growth during the forecast period. The rise in government expenditure on border security is expected to propel the growth of the market segment. The lightweight machines can be equipped with gun systems and thus, are suited for multi-role combat operations.


North America Helicopter Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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North America Expected to Dominate Backed by High Demand for Law Enforcement

Based on regions, the market has been segmented by North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Rest of the World.

The market in North America stood at USD 19.89 billion in 2020 due to the presence of key players such as The Boeing Company, Bell Textron, and Lockheed Martin Corporation. Moreover, the growth of the market in the region is attributed to the rising usage of rotorcrafts for military applications. The U.S. has also spent a substantial amount of its military/defense budget to procure attack helicopters to strengthen its military fleet. Moreover, factors such as a rise in demand for border security, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations would be increasing the demand in this region.

The market in Europe is expected to grow significantly due to prominent key players and OEMs such as Airbus, Leonardo Spa, and United Aircraft corporations. These companies are one of the top companies profiled in the region and hold some potential customers worldwide. The Russian and European-made aircraft are trusted worldwide for their high precision and reliability standards on the military platform for combat and surveillance applications.

Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing region during the forecast period. The OEMs such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Kawasaki Industries have a major presence in this region. Moreover, the rising expenditure by the Indian government in the development of defense has created a massive demand for military helicopters in this country.

Airbus SAS and Bell Textron are investing in simulator training facilities in India and China. This would help to provide training to the pilots for various commercial and military applications. Commercial rotorcraft is used for public transportation at tourist places. They are also used for corporate travel and as air ambulances. The Indian government is expected to increase fleets in the next few years. This would augment the market size in Asia-Pacific.

The Middle East is expected to witness substantial growth in the market owing to the increasing fleet size in the military sector. The Middle East and Africa consist of some potential customers, including rich industrialists investing in the commercial sector due to the increasing awareness for the usage of helicopters in oil & gas industries for several risky operations. These countries will emerge as the fastest-growing market during the forecast period.


Airbus SAS and the Boeing Company Focus on Expanding Product Portfolio

The market is dominated by some of the key companies owing to their strong product portfolio, key strategic decisions, and dominance of helicopter market share. These include key companies with a more widespread geographic presence and persistent R&D activities, resulting in strong regulatory approvals. 

Manufacturers aim to gain the top-of-the-line enterprise boom by adopting strategies, such as mergers & acquisitions, joint development, capability enlargement, design and engineering, long-term contract & agreements, and sizable investments in R&D.


  • Airbus SAS (the Netherlands)

  • Bell Helicopter Textron (The U.S.)

  • The Boeing Company (The U.S.)

  • Leonardo SPA (Italy)

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation (The U.S.)

  • Russian Helicopters, JSC (Russia)

  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Japan)

  • MD Helicopters, Inc. (The U.S.)

  • Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. (South Korea)

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) (India)

  • Robinson Helicopter Company (The U.S.)


  • June 2021, HAL manufactured ALH Mk-III Helicopters were inducted into the Indian Coast Guard. The state-of-the-art rotorcraft with advanced sensors will enable ICG to take up challenging tasks. These aircraft will be positioned in Bhubaneswar, Porbandar, Chennai, and Kochi and will be part of different Coast Guard Aviation Squadrons, HAL said in a release.

  • June 2021 - MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) received two independent contract awards worth USD 43.9 million from Army Contracting Command-Redstone supporting the Afghan Air Force’s MD 530F light attack rotorcrafts. The first contract, a six-month extension, is worth USD 14.5 million to provide program management and contractor logistics support (CLS) services. The second contract, worth $29.4 million, modifies MDHI’s original maintenance capabilities support contract.

  • June 2021 - Lockheed Martin announced that it will provide its first of three multi-role helicopters to the Indian Navy. America is set to hand over three MH-60 Romeo to the force in the United States in July. India and the US had signed over USD 169.2 Million deal to buy 24 MH-60 Romeo aircraft from Lockheed Martin in 2020 under fast track procedures on a government-to-government deal

  • June 2021 - Boeing won a $578 million Foreign Military Sales contract to deliver 14 extended-range Chinook heavy-lift rotorcraft to the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). The United Kingdom will be the first international operator of a Block II Chinook. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2026.


An Infographic Representation of Helicopter Market

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The market research report provides a detailed helicopter industry analysis and focuses on critical aspects, such as leading companies, product by types, applications, platforms, systems and components, and product weights. Besides this, it offers insights into the key market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several factors, including global market dynamics contributing to the market's growth over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Civil & Commercial

  • Military

    • Attack Helicopter

    • Transport Helicopter

    • SAR

    • Anti-Submarine Warfare/ Maritime

    • Others

By Application

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

  • Corporate Services

  • Search & Rescue Operation

  • Oil and Gas

  • Defense

  • Homeland Security

  • Others (Tourism, Agriculture, Training)

By System

  • Airframe

  • Engine

  • Avionics

  • Landing Gear System

  • Cabin Interiors

By Point of Sale

  • OEM

  • Aftermarket

By Weight

  • Light Weight

  • Medium Weight

  • Heavy Weight 

By Region

  • North America (By Type, Application, System, Point on Scale, Weight, and Country)

    • The U.S. (By Weight)

    • Canada (By Weight)

  • Europe (By Type, Application, System, Point on Scale, Weight, and Country)

    • The U.K. (By Weight)

    •  Germany (By Weight)

    • France (By Weight)

    • Italy (By Weight)

    • Russia (By Weight)

    •  Rest of Europe (By Weight)

  • Asia-Pacific (By Type, Application, System, Point on Scale, Weight and Country)

    • Japan (By Weight)

    • China (By Weight)

    •  India (By Weight)

    • Australia (By Weight)

    • Rest of Asia-Pacific (By Weight)

  • Rest of the World (By Type, Application, System, Point on Scale, Weight and region)

    • The Middle East and Africa (By Weight)

    • Latin America (By Weight)

    • Latin America (By Weight)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global helicopter market size was valued at USD 48.19 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 68.34 billion by 2027.

In 2019, the North America market value stood at USD 14.41 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 6.96%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The emergency medical service (EMS) segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market during the forecast period.

An increase in demand for advanced helicopters due to growing transnational disputes and modernization of conventional to technologically advanced helicopters is a factor driving the growth of the market.

Airbus SAS, The Boeing Company, Leonardo Spa, Bell Helicopter Textron, Lockheed Martin Corporation are major players of the global market.

North America dominated the market share in 2019.

The key companies are adopting expansion strategies by establishing a strong partnership with the companies and governments. Moreover, companies are also involved in designing and developing advanced helicopters for various applications.

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