China Civil Helicopter Fleet Report Released
What appears to be the first of its kind report on the helicopter fleet in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan has been released by Asian Sky Group (ASG), an aviation consulting company based in Hong Kong, with offices throughout China. It notes that the civil helicopter fleet in what it refers to as Greater China has doubled in size in four years. At the end of 2013 it numbered 465 civil aircraft, with 424 in mainland China, 30 in Hong Kong and Macau and 11 in Taiwan. ASG forecasts even stronger growth in 2014 and 2015. The report states that helicopter operations have developed along mission-specific geographic lines with support of the oil and gas industry experiencing high growth, as are government flight departments for law enforcement and search and rescue.
Less than 30 percent of mainland China’s total area is currently approved for low-altitude airspace usage—which is necessary for general aviation flights. ASG’s report stated that recent and upcoming reforms in China’s airspace regulations will lead to further growth and development in the civil helicopter industry. “Changes in regulations should help lift the country’s aviation industry and encourage growth, which in turn should encourage more investment. Development of the general aviation industry is also expected to enhance other related industries, including aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, infrastructure and training,” according to the report. It went on to say that of the 465 helicopters, 306 are turbine-powered; the largest market penetration is by Airbus Helicopters at 40 percent, followed by Bell and Sikorsky. The most prevalent models in use are the Bell 407, Bell 206 and Airbus Helicopter AS350. The report can be read in full here (PDF).