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Helicopter industry in India - statistics & facts

Since the first civil helicopter flew in India in 1953, there has been modest growth and this industry is still in the nascent stage. As of 2019, the country had less than 250 registered and operational civil helicopters and over 1,000 helipads across the country. This fleet size formed less than a percent of the worldwide copter fleet. The highest fleet size was observed in 2013, however, after that, the number plummeted due to multiple factors such as regulatory bottlenecks and high operational costs. Helicopter operators in India were usually designated as non-scheduled operators.

In India, Pawan Hans Limited, which is categorized as mini-ratna by the government of India, was the leading helicopter service company. Helicopters were primarily used for offshore operations for the oil and gas industry, inter-island transportation, connecting difficult terrains, hotline insulation washing and pipeline services, charter services, commercial services for heli- tourism, and occasionally for casualty and rescue work, and other law enforcement purpose. To boost the aviation industry, the government of India introduced the Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme, which also included helicopter operations. In February 2020, the first route under this scheme was operationalized in the state of Uttarakhand. Delhi based Heritage aviation was awarded this route. Worldwide, around one-third of the helicopters were to be used for medical and law enforcement purposes. However, this was absent in the south Asian country.

The majority of helicopters in India were owned by non-scheduled operators, followed by private owners. The helicopters used in India were mostly from foreign manufacturers. The fleet for Pawan Hans Limited comprised primarily of Airbus Helicopters SAS. In 2019, Airbus helicopters had the highest market share across the globe. Apart from this, Bell Textron Inc. was another major manufacturer that had a considerable market presence. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was the only Indian manufacturer to produce copters in the country and had a small presence within the civil helicopter industry. India was among few countries in the world that had the expertise to develop helicopters.

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Helicopter industry in India

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