Most everybody who is focused on the North America segment of this industry has a routine of preparations for Heli-Expo, I would think.
It would be cliché to call the routine “time-proven.” I don’t know the details of every outfit’s planning for the show. I have been involved directly, when out in the industry, with some OEM, trade association and vendor planning for the expo (and have observed more of it over years from my station here at R&WI). Given that perspective, I’m inclined to believe the applicable adjective is “time-worn.”
Many an industry player knows the date and place of Heli-Expo and has a good idea of what his or her outfit needs to accomplish at the show. Yet each January and February seems to bring a mad dash to finalize decisions on activities that will (or should) occur at the big show. The guiding principle for these folks seems akin to that of Henslowe, the theater owner in the 1998 movie “Shakespeare in Love.”
Whenever the title character or another player would despair at a predicament, Henslowe (played by Geoffrey Rush) would declare, “It will be all right.” “How will it?” was the set response. “I don’t know,” came the standard reply. “It’s a mystery.”
Our pre-Heli-Expo routine at R&WI involves serving all the business executives and outfit leaders we know for their assessment of the state of the industry and their plans for the coming year. We start sharing our findings in January, on our website and in our Year in Review and Industry Outlook print issue that month, and keep reporting our findings right up to Heli-Expo and during it.
In our reporting, we have noticed widespread acceptance of industry leaders using the term “crisis” to describe the current predicament. Although the ongoing slump that has been aggravated by plunging oil prices began more than two years ago, many of us clung to optimism that markets would rebound soon. That hope has been cast aside; that is not a bad thing.
The question we at R&WI have pursued is, “Where are the opportunities in the midst of this crisis?” Having seen no run on sackcloth and ashes in the last year, we tend to believe that defeatists are rare in a helicopter industry and had most of you focused on ferreting out new market and service offerings to sustain and grow your operations.
Understandably, many an executive has been focused in the last two years on triaging the business and paring operations and costs to stem losses. Now they are focusing on the opportunities — as you will see in our reports this month on the used aircraft markets, fledgling drone businesses and the upcoming Heli-Expo.
Current leaders in the industry, and aspiring ones, are not satisfied to despair at their lot or look to some unknown force to redeem them. They know their future is in their hands and the path forward must involve a plan, not a mystery.
When you are at Heli-Expo, please visit us and Avionics at booth 9561. Let us know your latest news and views on the state of our industry. We look forward to seeing you there. R&WI