Helitech Organizers Tout New London Venue

 - August 2, 2013, 2:10 AM

This year’s Helitech, to be held from September 24 to 26 at its new London venue, will attract more international visitors, according to organizers of Europe’s main helicopter trade show.

OEMs wanted an international platform for product launches,” Helitech International exhibition director John Hyde told AIN, and organizers believe the Excel London exhibition and convention center in the Newham district, near London City Airport, fills the bill.

For visitors, entrance is still free of charge, except for the conference. Demo flights will be allowed from the show site, as they were at the show’s former home at Duxford Airfield 60 miles north of London.

The exhibit floor, as of early last month, was almost fully booked. “Ninety percent of the capacity has been booked,” Hyde claimed. The 2013 edition will be bigger than the 2011 one, as 200 companies (from 21 countries) had already inked a reservation contract, up from a total 185 two years ago. The amount of exhibition space is also on the rise, to 4,800 square meters (51,600 sq ft) from 3,750 square meters (40,300 sq ft). Hyde expects this year’s event to attract more than the 3,900 visitors who walked through the gates at the 2011 show.

The Duxford venue allowed visitors to fly in to the event. To give passengers similar convenience at the new site, organizers have arranged a shuttle service (a 20-minute ride) to Damyns Hall Airfield.

The conference program, running on all three days, will offer five interactive sessions. Topics will be the future for the rotorcraft sector, night-time helicopter emergency operations, rulemaking, business challenges and opportunities, and financing the future.

Because the show is situated downtown rather than in the English countryside, hotels are probably more expensive on average but there’s a better choice, Hyde emphasized. Indeed, several hotels are available on site, something Duxford Airfield could not offer.

The downtown location should not add expense for exhibitors, according to Hyde. “We are holding prices,” he said. For the organizers, the cost is different from that of a regional airfield, he admitted, but parent company Reed Exhibitions managed to leverage its using Excel for other shows.

Helitech is becoming an annual show, and organizers are searching for a venue for next year’s event.