The luxury private helicopter industry in Europe has seen significant growth in recent years, driven by increasing demand from ultra high net worth individuals, corporations, and charter companies. Europe’s geographical landscape, with many remote luxury hotels, estates and beaches not easily accessible by road, makes helicopter travel an attractive proposition. In addition, helicopters provide rapid point-to-point city travel while avoiding ground congestion.
The European market for luxury helicopters is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% from 2022-2027, reaching a value of $4.7 billion by 2027 according to ResearchAndMarkets.com. Key factors fuelling this growth include rising individual wealth, time savings, and the appeal of unique travel experiences.
Major Players in The Luxury Private Helicopter Industry in Europe
Some of the major players in the European luxury helicopter market include:
|Company||Headquarters||Models Operated||Recent Funding|
|Volocopter||Germany||eVTOL aircraft in development||$182 million in 2021 from investors like BlackRock and Atlantia SpA|
|Vertical Aerospace||UK||eVTOL aircraft in development||$236 million in 2021 from investors like Mosaic Ventures and Honeywell|
|Hill Helicopters||UK||Robinson R44, R66, Bell 206, Bell 407||£5.5 million venture capital funding in 2018 from private investors|
|Airbus Helicopters||France/Germany||H125, H130, H135, H145, H155||N/A – Large aerospace conglomerate|
|Leonardo Helicopters||Italy||AW109, AW119, AW139||N/A – Large aerospace/defense company|
|Bell Helicopter||USA||Bell 407, Bell 429, Bell 525||N/A – Subsidiary of Textron|
|MD Helicopters||USA||MD 500, MD 530, MD 600||N/A – Privately owned company|
|Robinson Helicopter||USA||R44, R66||N/A – Privately owned company|
- Airbus Helicopters is the largest operator, accounting for around 50% of the active civil turbine helicopter fleet in Europe. Key Airbus models used for luxury transport include the H130, H135 and H145.
- Leonardo Helicopters has a strong position particularly in the intermediate and medium classes through its AW109 and AW139 models. The AW139 is increasingly used by VIP charter operators.
- Bell and MD Helicopters models like the Bell 429 and MD 900 provide light-twin options. The Robinson R44 is popular for more basic private and tourism charters.
- Hill Helicopters is a UK-based helicopter charter, training and maintenance provider. Privately owned company operating a fleet of 10+ helicopters. Received venture funding in 2018 to expand charter fleet focused on the Robinson and Bell models.
Recent Venture Capital Investments
The growth potential of the European luxury helicopter market has attracted significant venture capital interest in recent years. Some notable investments include:
- Vertical Aerospace – This UK-based eVTOL startup developing an electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft raised $236 million in 2021 from investors including Mosaic Ventures, Atmos Ventures, Avolon, and Honeywell.
- Volocopter – The German eVTOL developer raised $182 million in 2021 and is working on an electrical helicopter-style air taxi design. Investors include BlackRock and Atlantia SpA.
- Lilium – The German air mobility startup developing a 7-seater eVTOL jet raised $119 million in 2020. Investors include Tencent, LGT, and Atomico.
- Green AeroLease – The Irish helicopter lessor raised $23 million in a 2021 funding round to expand its fleet, focusing on the latest Airbus, Leonardo and Bell models.
This venture capital attention reflects investor confidence in the growth prospects of the European luxury helicopter market. New electric vertical take-off models could also disrupt the market in the coming decade. But conventional helicopter models from the major OEMs will continue meeting demand from the wealthy and corporate clients for the foreseeable future.
The luxury helicopter market is poised for steady growth in Europe, driven by rising wealth and the appeal of exclusive air travel experiences. Major players include Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo, Bell and MD Helicopters operating light to medium sized turbine helicopters. Recent venture capital investments into eVTOL developers highlight potential future disruption. But conventional luxury helicopter models will remain the mainstay over the next 5-10 years as the market expands across Europe.