Rotorcraft OEMs and Suppliers Convey Optimism at HELI-EXPO Conference
The Helicopter Association International’s HELI-EXPO 2013 convention in Las Vegas, Nevada was a hive of activity in early March. Over 20,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors hovered in town to meet, share industry perspectives, and do deals. The overall tone from the conference was one of enthusiastic optimism on the general direction of the rotorcraft industry. The upbeat attitude was diluted somewhat by a tone of caution amongst military suppliers.
KippsDeSanto compared notes with various industry participants from across the supply chain and service lifecycle. Highlights from selected high-profile industry players include:
- New Product Introductions Bolster Eurocopter Portfolio – Eurocopter is looking to maintain its market position and strong revenue growth (up 15% in 2012, and expecting close to that in 2013) with the unveiling of several new products. Among the introductions was the light twin-engine EC135T3/P3, with optimized Fadec software, longer rotor blades, and better high/hot performance.
- Strong Optimism from Sikorsky – Sikorsky President Mick Maurer said that the business is on the right track, with strong tailwinds especially for S-76D and S-92 aircraft. An order for 30 aircraft (23 S-92As and 7 S-76Ds) from leasing company Milestone Aviation reinforced this sense of optimism.
- Niche OEMs Buoyant – even smaller OEMs such as MD Helicopters expressed confidence in the future. MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton said that the Company is coming off a record year in 2012 with 24 aircraft deliveries and a strong order book, especially from state and local government customers.