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The global offshore helicopter services market size was valued at USD 2.89 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 2.98 billion in 2023 to USD 4.47 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.0%.
Offshore helicopter services refer to the use of helicopters for transportation, logistics, search and rescue, and other activities to support operations in the offshore oil and gas industry, as well as other offshore industries such as wind energy, marine research, and emergency services.
These services are crucial for the effective functioning of offshore operations. They provide fast, efficient, and safe transportation of personnel and equipment to and from offshore installations, vessels, and platforms. These services include a range of activities, including flight planning, pre-flight checks, safety briefings, loading and unloading of passengers and cargo, and others. The increasing demand for offshore operations is expected to drive the growth of the global market size from 2023 to 2030.
Imposed Travel Restrictions and Decreased Travel Negatively Affected Offshore Activities
The market was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as global travel restrictions, lockdowns, and reduced economic activity resulted in reduced demand for offshore activities across various sectors including global offshore helicopter services, search and rescue services, and others. For instance, in August 2020, Bristow Group Inc., one of the leading helicopter service providers, filed for bankruptcy protection due to the impact of the pandemic on its business. The company cited reduced demand, travel restrictions, and reduced oil and gas activity as the key factors that contributed to its financial difficulties.
Additionally, the growing demand for renewable energy created new opportunities for helicopter services in the offshore wind energy sector. This increased demand is expected to propel the market’s growth in the forecast period.
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Rising Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and the Adoption of Digitalization is Prominent Market Trends
An unmanned aerial vehicle is an aircraft or drone that comprises various sensors and can be guided autonomously. They are more efficient and provide greater range and endurance than manned aircraft. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles is increasing in the offshore operations industry as they can be used for various tasks such as surveying, inspection, and monitoring of oil & gas pipelines and wind turbines. This helps in significant cost reduction and improves safety. Major players such as Bristow Group, CHC Helicopter, and PHI Group are investing in drone technology to support their existing services.
Furthermore, adopting digital technologies is a key trend gaining popularity in the market to improve safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Operators are utilizing these technologies to leverage data analytics and predictive maintenance to enhance the safety and reliability of their services. Digital technologies also help in remote monitoring systems to improve operational performance. Furthermore, advancements in avionics systems, contracts from the government and other various end-user industries, strategic partnerships, and collaborations are also key trends in the market.
Rising Offshore Oil & Gas Production and Exploration Activities are Expected to Propel Market Growth
Offshore production and exploration activities require reliable and safe transportation services to transport crew and cargo to and from offshore rigs. Helicopters are the preferred mode of transportation for offshore exploration and production activities due to their ability to reach remote locations and operate in adverse weather conditions. For instance, in June 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecast, there will be new fields discovered and coming online in 2022. By the end of 2023, the newly discovered fields are expected to account for 5% of natural gas production and 14% of crude oil production in the U.S. Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
It is also expected that the average natural gas production will increase from 0.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2022 to 2.1 Bcf/d in 2023. These newly discovered oil fields all around the globe will require ferry personnel and other equipment between the mainland and offshore oil rigs which, in turn, propel the market’s growth. Additionally, the growth of deepwater exploration and development has expanded to discover new oil fields and marine research, which is expected to drive market growth in the forecast period.
Expansion of the Offshore Wind Industry is Projected to Boost Market Growth
The offshore wind industry is experiencing rapid growth, which is expected to drive the demand for helicopter services from offshore. Offshore wind projects require a new installation, frequent monitoring, inspection, and other resource requirements from offshore locations which increases the demand for helicopter services in that sector. For instance, in September 2022, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the offshore wind industry, and the governments of the U.S. and Denmark formed an alliance and launched the Global Offshore Wind Alliance to drive installed global offshore wind capacity up 670% from 57 GW in 2021 to 380 GW in 2030.
Several companies in offshore helicopter operators have reported growth in their business due to the expansion of the offshore wind industry. For instance, Babcock International Group has won contracts to provide transportation services for offshore wind projects in the UK, including the Hornsea Two and Triton Knoll offshore wind farms. Furthermore, rising demand for energy and government initiatives to promote the growth of the offshore wind industry are expected to boost the growth of the market.
Safety Concerns, Stringent Regulatory Framework, and High Operating Costs Hamper Market Growth
The safety record is a important concern for helicopter as several accidents reported in the past. The safety concerns associated with offshore helicopter services can impact the growth of the industry and reduce the demand for services. For instance, in 2020, according to a report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the helicopter accident rate in the U.S. was 3.38 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, higher than the accident rate for fixed-wing aircraft. Such factors are expected to restrain the growth of the market.
Additionally, the high operating costs are also expected to hinder the offshore helicopter services industry. Factors such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance, acts a significant challenge to the to the growth of the market. Moreover, operators must comply with various safety and operational regulations as the regulatory framework varies from country to country. This makes it difficult for service providers to operate in different regions.
Medium Weight Segment Dominates Market Owing to the Increased Demand for Versatile Helicopters
By type, the market is trifurcated into light, medium, and heavy. The medium weight segment dominated the market share in 2022. Medium helicopters are larger than light helicopters, with a maximum takeoff weight of between 6,000 and 18,000 pounds. They are used for applications such as search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting, and others. Medium-weight segments are expected to witness steady growth due to increased demand for versatile helicopters from the offshore industry.
A lightweight helicopter is designed to be small, agile, and easy to operate, with a maximum takeoff weight of fewer than 6,000 pounds. Lightweight helicopters are estimated to be the fastest-growing segment globally due to the increasing demand for inspection and monitoring applications.
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Owing to the Rising Demand for Emergency Services from Various Sectors, Search and Rescue Segment Dominates the Market
The application segment is categorized into inspection, monitoring and surveying, passenger transport, goods transport, search and rescue, and others. The search and rescue segment dominates the market and is estimated to be the fastest growing segment during the forecast period owing to rising demand and the high cost of emergency services.
The passenger segment is expected to witness significant growth in the segment. The increasing requirements for personnel for various offshore activities are anticipated to boost the market for the passenger segment.
Oil and Gas Industry Dominates the Segment Owing to the Increased Demand for Helicopter Services for Crew and Cargo Transport
By end user industry, the market is segmented oil and gas industry, offshore wind industry, and others. The oil and gas industry segment dominates the market in the base year due to the rising demand for helicopter services for crew and cargo transport.
The offshore wind industry segment is predicted to witness significant growth during the forecast period. The segment's growth is due to the expansion of the offshore wind industry globally. Additionally, the rising demand for renewable energy is also expected the drive the growth of the segment.
North America Offshore Helicopter Services Market Size, 2022 (USD billion)
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In terms of geography, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America dominated the market in 2022 and was valued at USD 0.97 billion in 2022. This region's high market growth is attributed to the presence of major offshore oil & gas rigs and growing demand for deep-water offshore development activity. Furthermore, the offshore wind industry's expansion, which requires helicopter transportation services for various applications from inspection to cargo transportation, also boosts the market's growth.
Europe holds the second-largest share of the market in the base year. Several European countries have invested heavily in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations to improve their response capabilities. For instance, in September 2022, Equinor, a Norway-based petroleum refining company awarded a SAR contract to Bristow Norway A/S for a tenure of four years which is expected to start from 1st September 2023. The contract also comes with options for a potential total of seven years.
Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the helicopter market. This growth rate is attributed to the growing investments from governments in oil & gas industry. For instance, in April 2022, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), China Petroleum & Chemical, and China National Offshore Oil Corp. are set to spend more than USD 80 billion on capital works which is an increase of up to 6.3% from the year 2021.
Latin America is anticipated to witness significant growth in during the forecast period due to the rising relocation and decommissioning operations in countries such as Brazil. For instance, in 2022, Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned corporation, found oil in a wildcat well situated in the pre-salt Campos Basin off the coast of Brazil. The company intends to continue drilling operations until it reaches the final depth to assess the new discovery's quality.
The market in the Middle East and Africa will witness major growth in the near future. The growth is contributed to increased offshore oil production and rising demand for pipeline inspection and monitoring are expected to boost the market growth during the forecast period.
Mergers & Acquisitions, Diversification of Services, Expansion into Emerging Markets, and Sustainable Operations are Key Focuses of Leading Players
The global offshore helicopter services market is relatively fragmented with key players, such as Bristow Group Inc., Petroleum Helicopters International Inc., CHC Helicopter Group, Omni Helicopters International (OHI) SA, NHV Group, and others. Major players are focusing on the diversification of services, expansion into emerging markets, and sustainable operations. For instance, in October 2022, NHV Group, a Belgium-based helicopter operator partnered with TotalEnergies and completed the first flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the offshore wind industry. This helps in the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 27% which was produced by TotalEnergies. TotalEnergies is a French-based integrated energy and petroleum company.
An Infographic Representation of Offshore Helicopter Services Market
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The offshore helicopter services market report provides a detailed market analysis. It comprises all major aspects, such as R&D capabilities and optimization of the operating services. Moreover, the market report includes insights into offshore helicopter services market trends, analysis, Impact of COVID-19 and primarily highlights key industry developments. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, it mainly focuses on several factors that have contributed to the global market growth over recent years.
CAGR of 6.0% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion)
Type, Weight, Application, End User Industry and Geography
By End User
As per the Fortune Business Insights study, the market size was USD 2.89 Billion in 2022.
The market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 6.0% over the forecast period (2023-2030).
The Search and Rescue segment is expected to lead the market due to the rising demand for emergency services globally.
The market size in North America stood at USD 0.97 billion in 2022.
Rising offshore oil & gas production and exploration activities expansion of the offshore wind industry are the key factors driving the market.
Some of the top players in the market are Bristow Group Inc., Petroleum Helicopters International Inc., CHC Helicopter Group, Omni Helicopters International (OHI) SA, NHV Group, and others.
The U.S. dominated the market in 2022.
Safety concerns, stringent regulatory framework and high operating costs are expected to restrain the deployment of the service.
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