Heli-Expo Shows Growth for 6th Consecutive Year

March 11, 2013

Aisles still were bustling and talk of new contracts was in the air on the closing day of the Heli-Expo 2013 that took place March 5-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Produced by Helicopter Association International, the annual show for the helicopter industry featured 736 exhibitors on nearly 1 million square feet of exhibit space and attracted 20,393 attendees, many of whom were here to check out 60 beautiful choppers.

“Las Vegas has been a great city for us,” said Chris Dancy, director of communications and public relations for HAI. “We’ve set records in just about every category. It’s our sixth consecutive year of growth.”

Dancy noted that the helicopter industry weathered the economic downturn better than most parts of the aviation industry. The off-shore transport segment is particularly strong, as demand for oil continues to rise and distances from shore to new oil rigs are increasing.

“In the Gulf of Mexico, they move 10,000 people a day,” Dancy said. “Medium to heavy twins (helicopters) are going gangbusters.”

As usual, the show attracted a large international contingent, with Russian, European and Chinese consortiums having a large presence on the showfloor.

“This show has really become the one place in the world to come and see pretty much everything the civilian helicopter market has to offer,” Dancy said.

First-time exhibitors’ pavilion, new this year, received positive feedback. Show management is considering developing other pavilions for future shows.

The buzz on the floor was that along with off-shore, the markets for commercial, law enforcement and search and rescue helicopters are improving.

Rapid growing economies are upgrading their fleets. Top players are investing major resources in innovation and are on the quest to produce safe, smart high-performing machines while maintaining competitive costs of ownership.

“I just saw the automated rig approach at Sikorsky for offshore oil rigs. It practically lands itself. It’s incredible,” said first-time attendee David Johnston with Dreamhost.com. “This show is like big boys heaven.”

Aviation industry consultant Eddie Morris with Nighthawk Consulting also had a positive experience at the show. “Our clients are seeing new growth,” he said. “I can’t speak for all segments, but what we’re very optimistic about what we’re seeing.”

Exhibitor Pam Jenkins with United Rotocraft said that their company is poised for a strong year and the leads generated at the show will keep them busy for several months ahead.

“It’s been awesome,” she said. “Business has never really slacked off for us so we’ve never had to let people go but now we are actually bringing in new contractors because of all the new aircrafts coming in. The show is breaking records and it’s our goal to break records too.”

Heli-Expo 2014 will be held Feb. 24-27 in Anaheim.

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