After three days of invaluable business meetings, sourcing new solutions and services, while learning about the trends shaping the global rotorcraft industry, visitors left Helitech
International with cautious optimism about future operations.
Last week’s event, run in association with the European Helicopter Association (EHA), welcomed operators, pilots and engineers from across the globe, including representatives from
Thales, the Ukrainian embassy and DONG Energy.
Visitors had come to see the 180-plus international exhibitors who were showcasing their latest products and services - many of whom had never presented at the event before. The latest
innovations from leading OEMs, including Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, were all on display, while suppliers of MRO services, navigation systems and lifting
equipment were also in demand.
Sara Cordera from Leonardo Helicopters, which demonstrated a new virtual reality (VR) SAR experience at the event, commented “It’s been a great show for us. We had a packed
schedule of meetings which all went well and our new VR simulator was a huge success in helping to drive traffic to the stand, while helping us develop new contacts in the SAR sector.”
Andrew Shahadi from Marenco Swisshelicopter added: “We were delighted to make our debut at Helitech International this year and the quantity of enquiries at our stand far exceeded
our expectations. The event has provided us with the ideal platform to engage with new and existing customers and discuss our new model.”
Operators in the spotlight
A new feature to this year’s event, the Operators Forum, saw dozens of business owners from across the globe join together to talk informally about issues set to shape the future of the
industry. Hosted by Gretchen Haskins, the CEO of HeliOffshore, attendees discussed how they can make operations more profitable in the long term, as well as exploring how a
collaborative approach can improve safety across all markets.
The offshore industry was the topic of much debate, with René van der Haring, CEO of Heli Holland Group, sharing his views on what he believed had gone wrong with the market.
Importantly, he provided the operators with a detailed look at the future and how it will potentially
Providing valuable education
The seminar and workshop programme at Helitech International received widespread acclaim. Many of the sessions were full as attendees flocked to hear sessions from the Association
of Air Ambulances, EASA, Flight Ascend Consultancy, AAR Airlfift Group, Waypoint Leasing, The Flying Bulls and the European HEMS & Air Ambulances Committee.
Frank Scheuch, Managing Director of Intellifast GmBH, said: “The Business Leaders Forum provided some great quality insight into the current safety regulations within the industry. It’s
a big area of focus for us at the moment and it was really valuable to hear first-hand from the industry experts within the sector on what the future has in store.”
On day one of the event, to a full room, analysts from Flight Ascend Consultancy provided a detailed review of the oil and gas industry and how its decline has correlated closely with the
downturn in international helicopter orders. The impact of CHC filing for Chapter 11 and the grounding of operators’ H225 fleets was also assessed, with delegates informed that around
75% of the global offshore fleet is currently priced below its base value.
The future trends in emergency medicine were also explored on day one, along with their impact on air ambulances and mission equipment. Steve Wheaton, Assistant Chief of the West
Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, presented a unique insight into pre-hospital care trends in the UK, while Fabio Martorana from Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital explained
how Italian HEMS operators are planning missions from a national and regional perspective.
Green shoots on the horizon
Day two’s sessions were in just as high demand, with the Business Leaders Forum bringing in a large audience of operators who heard a panel discuss fleet finance, the
commercialisation of aviation operations, safety and the opportunities in the MRO sector.
Waypoint Leasing suggested that it has seen enough evidence of new contracts being made available to confidently say the “bottom had been reached”. However, the helicopter leasing
company did urge operators to diversify their businesses, to protect themselves against future downturns, while stressing that OEMs must not flood the market with new models at the
first sight of a recovery and give time for the market to absorb the supply backlog.
Operators need to embrace UAVs
The afternoon sessions of day two covered the ever growing UAV sector, with visitors hearing Sky-Futures and DroneSAR both stress how collaboration must be the way forward, with
helicopter operators not being afraid to embrace the technology and use it as a complementary service.
Oisin McGrath, CEO of DroneSAR, said that helicopter operators should see the technology as an asset rather than a threat, highlighting how SAR missions can be assisted by UAVs to
ultimately help save lives. He went on to explain how the company was working on developing devices with a much longer battery life, while terrain capturing software and operating in
treacherous weather conditions were two major focuses over the coming year.
HEMS in focus
Day three of Helitech International showcased how helicopters can create efficiency gains for European health services. A high profile panel, including speakers from
AFHSH, the Association of Air Ambulances, the European HEMS & Air Ambulance Committee, Leonardo Helicopters and Bell Helicopter, discussed patient care as well as mission safety.
The role of doctors on-board missions was explored with Stefan Becker from the European HEMS & Air Ambulance Committee revealing the findings of research that it can significantly
assist with the care for trauma victims. He went on to deliver information that proved the benefits that new helicopter bases can have, particularly when it comes to the time advantage it
delivers against ground-based EMS.
Deals signed on the exhibition floor
The exhibition hall at Helitech International painted a positive picture for the rotorcraft industry with OEMs and suppliers revealing new deals throughout the event.
Leonardo signed two agreements to supply its new AW169 helicopter, with visitors witnessing LCI Helicopters and Specialist Aviation Services agree to take three and six aircraft
Airbus Helicopters also revealed that its H135 model has achieved excellent sales in China, echoing the thoughts of Flight Ascend Consultancy which highlighted that the country’s
government and civilian helicopter fleet had increased by more than 400% since 2007.
HeliSpeed, which provides contract pilots to support MRO services across the globe, signed a number of agreements at Helitech International that will see its customer base increase
significantly. Speaking at the event Gemma
Walker, Operations Manager, said: “We are delighted with the look of our stand at the show and feel it portrays our brand very accurately.
We’ve had an excellent show and by the end of day one could already see a return on investment.”
Elsewhere, Jet Support Services announced a deal with HeliAir Sweden to take a series of Airbus Helicopters onto its engine maintenance programme, including two AS350B2s, one
AS350B3 and a further two H120s.
Helitech International returns to London 2017
During the event, the organisers announced that the 2017 event will run alongside MRO Europe from 3-5 October, as
John Hyde, Exhibition Director of Helitech International, explains:
“MRO Europe complements Helitech International perfectly and, as the leading event in that sector, it will help bring a bigger audience of operators, engineers and R&D professionals
through our doors. We fully expect our 2017 event in London to be the most successful event in the show’s history as a result.
“This year’s event has shown there is a degree of confidence returning to the market. Oil and gas remains in a state of flux, but the industry itself will continue to function and over the next
year or two business will return. It’s important for companies to keep innovating and diversifying in these difficult times and by attending Helitech International operators have a clearer idea
of the solutions and strategies they need in place to succeed.”
Helitech International will return from 3-5 October 2017 at ExCeL London, for more information please visit