The 2020 edition of HAI Heli-Expo, considered to be the largest exhibition dedicated to the helicopter industry in the world, drew to a close in Anaheim, California on 30 January, following an event which saw the participation of manufacturers, industry professionals and service companies who support the various activities of the rotary-wing sector.
Leonardo attended the event, presenting three helicopters as part of the static display - namely, the AW139, the AW169 and the AW189, which together constitute the AWFamily - along with the new Heli Advanced Services (HAS) programme, which was launched in order to demonstrate how digital services will be increasingly instrumental in the success of the company's Customer Support and Training strategy.
During the first day of HAI Heli-Expo, the acquisition of the Swiss company Kopter was announced; the company is developing the SH09, an innovative 2.8 ton single-engine helicopter with a large, modular cabin, and is also investing in cutting-edge technology and in the use of high-tech materials.
During the event, Gulf Helicopters from Qatar was also announced as the launch customer for the AW189K; the company is already a major operator of the AW189.
Throughout the exhibition, a number of ceremonies were held at our stand to celebrate the successes achieved and our partnerships with both distributors and with the companies that operate as Service Centres to provide assistance to our customers and operators.
Another ceremony saw distributors Sloane Helicopters in the UK, Mitsui Bussan in Japan and Rotortrade - a company which operates in the second-hand market - being presented with a commemorative plaque, in recognition of our long-standing collaborative relationship.
Within the Service Centre network, the partnership agreement with Arrow Aviation in the United States has been renewed, and the latter also received the upgrade to Excellent Service Centre; the partnership agreement with Uniflight, also based in the United States, has also been extended. The blade repair centre in Louisiana hit its target of 100 repaired blades in 2019, and this was marked with a plaque to commemorate the achievement.
Elsewhere in the field of customer support, the agreement with the new Serviavia Service Centre, which will operate in Guatemala, was also celebrated.
Events with customers
In order to ensure that our customers remain at the heart of our activities at all times, and to enable us to listen to their requirements and exchange feedback as well as providing them with our latest news, we organised a series of events that allowed us to be in direct contact with them, in a private yet informal environment.
The day before the exhibition opened, the Customer Advisory Boards were held, during which the latest updates on Customer Support and Training activities were delivered in both the morning and afternoon sessions, along with the latest technical updates for each platform. The sessions were divided by subject and type of helicopter; in the morning the focus was on the AW169 and AW109/AW119 models, while the afternoon was dedicated to the AW139 and the AW189.
On the morning of the first day of HAI Heli-Expo, we organised a breakfast conference, which saw CEO Alessandro Profumo and the MD of the Helicopters Division Gian Piero Cutillo at the heart of the action. They spoke to the many guests about the importance of the AW139 for Leonardo, outlining the impact of this model on the development of the services and training we offer to support customers. Furthermore, on the establishment of best practices within the programme, on the basis of which the AWFamily, which includes the AW169 and the AW189 models, has subsequently been developed. Mr. Profumo gave an overview of Leonardo's global presence, focusing on the United States and detailing the relationship between Leonardo and the Division.
Last but not least, we also held an event exclusively dedicated to pilots; as well as representing an excellent opportunity for networking, this gave participants the chance to see first-hand the features of the two helicopters that were based at the Angels Stadium in Anaheim, the AW139 and the TH-119, which were available also for demo flights.