The organizers of Helitech International, scheduled to take place at London’s Excel exhibition center from October 6 to 8, are expecting the show will draw as many exhibitors and visitors as in 2013, the last time it was held in London. Two years ago, before it made a continental incursion into Amsterdam last year, the event attracted a record 220 exhibitors and 5,600 visitors. This year for the first time, it will feature a “Learning and Skills Zone,” located on the exhibit floor.
As of early September, exhibition director John Hyde was predicting “similar levels” of attendance. “We will have more than 40 first-time exhibitors,” he emphasized. He noted some companies exhibit once every two years, such as those Dutch companies that find it more relevant to have a booth only in Amsterdam.
“The Learning and Skills Zone we are launching is aiming at anyone who wants to know about the pathways into the helicopter industry,” Hyde told AIN. A cooperation with a UK-based organization, Aviation Skills Partnership, will help find the target audience. “The Aviation Skills Partnership is working with schools, universities and so on,” Hyde said.
One planned feature will be meetings between one exhibitor and groups of 10 to 15 students. However, as of early last month organizers had received no booking from students or schools. “Many institutions we are working with are just returning from summer break,” Hyde explained.
Three major helicopter manufacturers–AgustaWestland, Airbus and Bell–will attend but Sikorsky will be absent again, although its new parent company, Lockheed Martin, is exhibiting. Hyde still has “reasonable hope” to convince Sikorsky eventually. MD Helicopters is not in the list of exhibitors either.
Flying in will be possible again for exhibitors, who will also be allowed to conduct demonstration flights. Bell has booked such slots. Visitors wishing to fly in will have to land at an airport or heliport and then use ground transportation arranged by Helitech.
The organizers are confident the economic environment is favorable. They cite recent market intelligence from Reportbuyer, which has found that the global civil helicopter market has grown almost threefold over the past decade, despite the global economic crisis. The global footprint of Helitech International 2015 will extend to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Qatar and South Africa, where some exhibitors originate.
New “Focus On” sessions will address unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and offshore wind farms. The UAVsession will investigate the potential for operators to develop sustainable business models by incorporating aUAV division. The Offshore Wind Farm session will look at the predicted demands for rotorcraft to meet the needs of the sector.
The Business Leaders Forum, which gathers senior industry figures to discuss key issues facing the rotorcraft industry, has lined up Patrick Moulay, v-p of sales and marketing for Bell Helicopters, David Balevic, senior v-p of engineering and operations at CHC, Jason Propes, senior v-p for helicopters at Rolls-Royce and Daniel Rosenthal, president of Milestone Aviation.
Reed Exhibitions runs Helitech in association with the European Helicopter Association. “This helps us develop the event in line with the industry’s expectations,” Hyde said.
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