Image: iStock/Dilok Klaisataporn
Jan. 19, 2021
Expert panel gives rotor review, forecast at HAI@Work webinar.
It’s no secret 2020 was one of the most challenging years for the helicopter industry. The verdict is still out on 2021, of course, but both extended hardship and exciting new changes are expected.
What do the experts think about all this? Several shared their perspectives at HAI’s Jan. 14 HAI@Work webinar, “Aviation Media Roundtable: 2020 Review and 2021 Forecast,” offering their insights on how 2020 affected the rotorcraft industry and what lies ahead this year.
HAI President and CEO Jim Viola joined aviation media panelists Dan Parsons, managing editor of Valor magazine; Mark Huber, writer for Aviation International News (AIN); and Kenneth Swartz, senior editor of Vertiflite magazine at the event, where everyone weighed in on topics including the cause of last year’s significantly lower accident and fatality rates, future industry workforce needs, and advanced urban air mobility.
The key takeaway was simply that 2020 was like no other in terms of impact across all aspects of aviation, and that its negative effects, though expected to continue to be felt, hopefully will be lessened throughout 2021. Meanwhile, new technology is on the cusp of further transforming the vertical flight industry.
Unlike years when economics or fuel prices affected only part of the aviation industry, virtually all sectors were hurt last year, from airlines to helicopters, Huber emphasized.
While there were devastating tolls—loss of companies, a flood of used aircraft on the market, and exceptionally low delivery and revenue rates, for example—some bright spots broke through. These included remarkable agility, increased focus on staff and customer safety, a strong firefighting season, and a spotlight on the extreme value of helicopters in the air ambulance sector as the pandemic raged.
Thoughts were mixed regarding 2021.
“The bottom line is, we’re looking at a pretty rocky year,” Huber said, citing turbulence for the offshore and air ambulance markets due to excess oil-and-gas supply and underpaying Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement schedules. Silver linings included hopes that increased COVID-19 vaccinations would encourage more tourism and business, increasing helicopter use.
For a more in-depth look at the panel’s observations about and predictions for operations, staffing, and new technology in 2021 and beyond, watch in its entirety.
Please join us on Jan. 21 at 4 pm eastern for our next HAI@Work webinar, “.”