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Heli-Expo 2015: China dominant player in Asia Pacific region

3rd March 2015 - 21:44 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in Orlando

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China will be the dominant player in the Asia Pacific region over the next 12 months with growth of its rotorcraft fleet expected to surpass that of the current leader in the region, Japan. 

An end of year report for 2014, released by Asian Sky Group at Heli-Expo 2015, found that the rate of growth in China means that the country is likely to have a larger fleet than Japan by the end of 2015. 

The report found that at the end of 2014 Japan had a total fleet of 800 rotorcraft while China ended the year with a fleet of 655. 

‘We expect the number of rotorcraft in China to exceed 800 by the end of 2015,’ said Jeffrey Lowe, managing director of Asian Sky Group. ‘Currently Japan has a fleet of 800 rotorcraft, however despite Japan having the largest fleet their rate of growth is far smaller than that of China.

‘Also, we have seen and expect to see future relaxation in aerospace control in China, opening the airspace to civil aviation, which will allow for further growth,’ Lowe explained. 

The rate of growth for the rotorcraft fleet in China was measured at 29% throughout 2014, the highest rate of growth in all of the Asia Pacific region. 

While in 2013 market growth was most visible in the offshore market, in 2014 growth came from lighter entry level helicopters used for flight training and multi-mission activity. 

‘In total the rate of growth for Japan is significantly slower than that of China, total fleet growth for Japan in 2014 was around 3%.’

SAR, ESM and law enforcement represent around 35% of the combined fleet in Japan while corporate transport and private use make up 22%. 

While the rotorcraft in the region are dominated by large companies such as Airbus Helicopters, which has a 38% market share in China, companies such as Avicopter are taking advantage of the growth potential within the country.

In 2014 Avicopter’s AC311 light-single was delivered to several operators as well as the medium sized AC312

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