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Rotorcraft Asia: Bell to make best of limited market opportunities

21st March 2019 - 15:46 GMT | by Tim Martin in London


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Manufacturer Bell is not expecting ‘huge growth’ from the Asia-Pacific region this year, but is forecasting more business opportunities from a select collection of countries including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Without the company being able to offer a figure for orders across the entire area last year, it is predicting that similar totals from both 2017 and 2018 will be accounted for in 2019.

‘We did a great job last year [with our orders], I think we outsold all of the competition and of course its a goal to do the same thing again this year, but [looking at] the market itself, I don’t think it has recovered fully from the downturn, but its starting to turn in the right direction,’ David Sale, Asia-Pacific MD at Bell told Shephard.

The parapublic market is of particular significance to Bell’s business aspirations as Sale explained ‘that’s really where our big numbers came from in 2018’ as he suggested the 412 twin utility and 429 light twin will both continue to play a major role in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and New Zealand.

On lighter aircraft prospects, Bell continues to put its full weight behind increasing international market share and presence of its 505 Jet Ranger X.

Assessing how that fits within an Asia-Pacific context, Sale firmly suggested that the helicopter’s suitability for tourism operations will be of value to potential customers.   

‘I think the 505 will do well in New Zealand’ he said. ‘It could play [a prominent role] in places like Cambodia or.... China where tourists are moving south to New Zealand, that [type of operation] is growing and Thailand is part of that too.

‘I think we will see a lot of opportunities for the 505 in those regions, because it is a perfect platform for those [missions].’

Bell has recently announced that the 505 has received a three aircraft order from aviation charter company PhilJets, further evidence of successful business opportunities in the Philippines.  

See Bell at Rotorcraft Asia at Stand N02. 

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