Reaching Our Potential

Jim Viola 2020 Q2

Preparing for a sustainable future.

We’re nearly halfway through the year, and frankly, 2020 has been a bumpy ride. COVID-19 changed nearly every routine we had, both at work and at home. Businesses around the world went dark, and millions signed up for unemployment.

Some sectors of our industry, such as aerial tours and flight training, have been hard-hit by the recession the pandemic has caused. Others, such as oil and gas production, have seen business activity reduced by completely unrelated events. Our industry and our people, however, are resilient. The pandemic continues, but we’re building a new normal for ourselves.

Like you, HAI is making use of this time to take a look internally and ensure we’re prepared for the future. For one, we’re reorganizing so that we have clear lines of responsibility throughout the association. There have also been some leadership changes in some other organizations with which you should be familiar: the International Helicopter Safety Foundation and the US Helicopter Safety Team.

HAI’s No. 1 priority has been to find ways to help our members during this crisis, and the HAI staff have been advocating for economic and regulatory relief for you at every opportunity, including securing more than $27 million in payroll support for US air tour operators. I thank many of you who’ve provided feedback on issues to both our Government Affairs and Operations Departments. Your reports of conditions in the field have been invaluable in guiding our work with lawmakers and civil aviation authorities.

To improve our ability to provide you with up-to-the-minute information, we’ve launched HAI@Work, a weekly webinar series featuring HAI staff and guest speakers from the international vertical flight industry. Finding a job, getting insurance, navigating government bureaucracies—each week, we focus on a different topic. Where could some expert advice help you? Email your suggestions to president@rotor.org. And visit rotor.org/webinar to register for upcoming webinars or view our archive for ones you might have missed.

HAI is also launching a program that supports our members’ efforts to keep their aircraft clean and sanitized and their customers safe. The HAI COVID Clean Program reassures tour, charter, and corporate clients that their operators follow industry best practices to prevent transmission of the coronavirus. HAI members can find related resources at rotor.org/covid, and more are planned.

As I write this, it’s not just COVID-19 but the Black Lives Matter movement that’s changing how we live—as it should. As a workplace, as an association, and as an industry, we must take a moment to listen and reflect on the stories being told by people of color.

In my experience growing and leading teams, diversity makes us stronger, more capable, and more adaptable. But goodwill alone isn’t enough. To prepare our industry for a future of sustainable growth, we need to seek out human potential wherever it’s found and remove artificial limits on it.

At HAI, we’re working on doing just that, both as a workplace and as your association. As an industry, we’re experiencing challenging times. But we can’t look backward. Instead, let’s focus on uncovering the potential within ourselves and those around us. Meanwhile, stay in touch with HAI, and tell us how we can help you keep your rotors turning.

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