June 18, 2019 / 2:59 PM / a month ago

Airbus Helicopters sees 18-month wait for oil & gas demand pick-up

Visitors look at an Airbus Helicopter H145 on static display during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus expects it will be another 18 months before it sees the first signs of a recovery in demand for large helicopters from the oil and gas industry, the head of its helicopter division said on Tuesday.

The low oil price has hit oil and gas companies hard, and crimped demand for the helicopters that fly staff to and from offshore rigs.

The price slump meant there was an overcapacity of helicopters and that it would take time to have all aircraft flying and for there to be new demand, Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even said.

“We think we have hit a low point, however it will take a bit if time before activity picks up,” Even told Reuters at the Paris Airshow. “We think it will be 18 months before we see the first signs of demand.”

Even, who arrived at Airbus last July after two decades at Safran, said he expected to match last year’s order book for 381 helicopters in 2019, underpinned by strong growth in Asia.

Airbus’s main rivals in the civilian-use helicopter market include Bell Helicopter (Textron), Italy’s Leonardo, and Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and Boeing in the military market.

Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Richard Lough. Editing by Jane Merriman

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