Helitech International breaks records
Orginally Publish on reedexpo.com
10 Oct 2013
More than 220 exhibiting companies, representing 26 countries, attended Helitech International 2013 at ExCeL London from 24-26 September. The event was almost 30% larger than the previous edition and hosted 18 aircraft, with over 5,600 attendees (this pre-audit figure represents a 12% increase on the 2011 attendance number) and a series of high-profile contract signings – making it the most successful edition to date.
The show’s relocation to ExCeL proved an outstanding success. The proportion of international attendees increased by 20% and a record contingent of 70 first-time exhibitors were keen to showcase the latest technological innovations to grace the rotorcraft sector. “This was our first year at Helitech International”, said Mikael Randhem, CEO of Northern Helicopters. “We felt that it was important to attend the event given the international nature of the exhibitors and visitors who attend. It has provided us with the opportunity to lay down a marker in the rotorcraft sector and showcase our unique products and services”.
Held in association with the European Helicopter Association, Helitech International 2013 also saw a strong presence from AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter, Russian Helicopters and Sikorsky.
Business was brisk at the event as AgustaWestland, Avincis Group, Bell Helicopter, Bond Air Services, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters, Milestone Aviation and PremiAir each took the opportunity to sign contract agreements and announce service launches. The strength of the attendance from key stakeholders across the rotorcraft sector proved especially popular with exhibitors. “The big players are all here, so we are very happy to be here. I am happy about the exhibition; it is a very good, well-organised event”, said Andrea Girolin, CEO at 4Aviation. His thoughts were echoed by Mark Hammond, Sales Executive at Air & Ground Aviation; “We have welcomed a high-quality range of both national and international visitors to our stand this week and the feeling we have is that the change of venue to a more central London location has proved to be beneficial. We are confident that we will be following up a number of excellent business leads during the next few weeks that will likely materialise into future business whilst we’ve also maintained and strengthened existing links with our customer base this week”.
Eurocopter took the opportunity to announce the sale of VIP EC175s to two customers; bookings which came only six months after the twin-engine, medium-class helicopter was initially introduced to the high-end market. Meanwhile: Helicentre Aviation announced an order placed for a fourth addition to the Cabri G2 fleet at the company’s Aviation Academy; Teal Group released its keenly anticipated annual world rotorcraft overview; Heli-One publicised a contract to upgrade two AS332 L1s to perform all-weather SAR missions in the Arctic area for Lufttransport AS; and AgustaWestland announced the availability of a new training centre dedicated to the GrandNew light twin helicopter, centred upon the GrandNew Full Flight Simulator (FFS).
Away from the show floor, a comprehensive conference programme, sponsored by Rolls-Royce, focused upon a range of topical subjects including: the future of the rotorcraft sector; Night HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Operations); rulemaking; and rotorcraft business challenges & opportunities. Keynote addresses were provided by an enviable array of industry specialists such as: Dr Norbert Lohl, Certification Director, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); Gerry Hermer, Aviation Consultant, East Anglian Air Ambulance; Willy Sigl, Rulemaking officer, EASA Flight Standards; and Dr Andrew Black, Director and Head of Analysis, Hawk Associates.
The excellent prospect of future perspectives within the rotorcraft sector provided the focus of Dr Lohl’s opening address but he temporised his optimism with the warning that expectations within the industry had to be managed. This balanced message was something Dr Black developed in the conference’s final session, suggesting that western companies’ dominant market share will come under increasing pressure from Russia and new market competitors – including India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and China’s AVIC – especially within the light military sector.
However he also argued that prospects looked bright in the civilian light sector between 2013 and 2022, whilst predicting that demand for civilian helicopters is currently set to peak in 2018 with a market valuation of $9 billion.
The breadth and depth of the conference impressed many, including London’s Air Ambulance Charity Director and AOC, David Oakley; “Helitech International 2013 was a great opportunity to network and meet existing and new contacts and keep abreast of where the industry is moving. We found the conference sessions very informative and we look forward to next year’s event. Thank you to Helitech International for choosing us as their charity”.
The show’s relocation to ExCeL London enabled visitors to have a hands-on experience as they were invited to sit inside a number of platforms situated on exhibitor’s stands and within internal and external static display areas. A series of engaging demonstration flights also provided a welcome interactive element to this year’s event. “NATS and London City Airport proved extremely helpful”, said Event Director John Hyde, “their cooperation has enabled exhibitors to fly rotorcraft into ExCeL for display and provide them the opportunity for a full programme of demonstration flights for potential customers, showcasing platforms such as the Bell 429”.
“Helitech International continues to strengthen its position as the preeminent helicopter event outside of America. I am already looking forward to Helitech International 2014, which will be held at the Amsterdam RAI in the Netherlands from 14-16 October and already anticipate another year of success given the popularity of this edition with exhibitors and visitors”.