Feeling Heli Good

This week’s Helitech International 2016 was demonstrative of a narrative change from the anticipated doom and gloom of the oil and gas crisis to the reality of a wide range of deals across the helicopter supply chain.

The positive outlook felt across the show’s floor is not seismic at this stage, but it felt like the ripple of confidence was the start of a very different tone for the industry, with an emphasis on positivity going forward for the next 12 months.

The dialogue that appears to have started in Amsterdam was a sobering tone of realisation: yes, oil and gas has impacted the market, but let us dictate the next cycle rather than be dictated to by the downturn.

As I write the price of oil is around $50 a barrel; in recent weeks the price has risen to $52 with lows of $48. Green shoots of stabilisation seem to be happening.

Leonardo Helicopters, who were one of the most dominant presences at the show [displaying its AW169 in an EMS configuration], had numerous contract signings, as well as a framework agreement with Specialist Aviation Services for the provision of six AW169s.


Leonardo Helicopters’ AW169 in HEMs configuration arrives at the RAI, Amsterdam

Another key point of optimism was the 35 new exhibitors that had a presence at the show. One of these was Kaman. The company returned to the show after over ten years absence, because deals in Europe over the next 12 months are seriously desired. With their K-Max production line now re-opened, orders will be required..

Lessors conveyed their market strength as well, LCI agreed a contract for three AW169s with Leonardo, and orders for AW139s were disclosed by Waypoint Leasing to two companies respectively.

Suppliers, smaller manufacturers and companies felt the buzz of positivity as deals were signed or intentions were made for 2017 with new products being launched at the show such as Trakka Systems’ TLX.


JSSI signed an agreement with HeliAir Sweden for five helicopters to join its engine programme.

Now these good vibes need to continue not only on the show floor but consistently throughout the industry and in the remaining months of this year – not just at shows.

The real mark of success for Helitech International will be demonstrated at Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, US with the anticipation of more deals, more orders and an overtly confident outlook for the forthcoming years.


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