Aerospace events change plans as the pandemic challenges large-scale gatherings.
The evolving state of trade shows globally can’t seem to find a point of rest. Aerospace events aren’t immune, as key conferences such as Heli-Expo and AERO Friedrichshafen change plans while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge large-scale gatherings.
Helicopter Assocation Internation (HAI) announced during the week of January 18 that its marquee event, Heli-Expo, scheduled for March 22 to 25 in New Orleans, would be cancelled. An abiding sense of unease pervades the marketplace, as the association noted on its site: “While some in our industry have urged us to carry on with the show, the majority have recently expressed discomfort with the logistics involved in business travel at this time. HAI appreciates hearing from our diverse VTOL community, and we are grateful for the honest feedback that we’ve received from our members, exhibitors, attendees, and other stakeholders.”
The association offers several ways for companies and attendees to move forward: “Exhibitors have multiple options for their booth payments, including pushing participation and payment to the 2022 show in Dallas, repurposing dollars to other HAI advertising and sponsorship opportunities to support their business objectives in 2021, or issue of a full refund. Current exhibitors will be contacted with additional details in the next 5–7 business days, and more information on exhibitor options, including helpful contacts, can be found at heliexpo.com/faq.”
Across the Atlantic, the organizers of AERO Friedrichshafen, Messe Friedrichshafen GmbH, announced on January 21 that it would postpone its conference planned for late April in Germany to the summer—in light of increased numbers of COVID-19 cases in Europe this winter. “Following the cancellation of the event last year, the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic coupled with the renewed lockdown extension unfortunately mean that AERO Friedrichshafen will have to be postponed,” said Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann. “With the aim of creating clear parameters for all our customers and partners, we have now decided at this relatively early stage to hold our upcoming AERO as a summer edition from July 14 to July 17, 2021, in Friedrichshafen.” The large number of reservations that the organization had already received gave them hope that the summer event would be well received. “AERO Friedrichshafen provides the global general aviation industry the opportunity to showcase its latest innovations,” said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “It has also become a premier setting for discussions about the current affairs and future of the industry in Europe. GAMA looks forward to our continued participation in this valuable general aviation expo - also at the upcoming summer edition from [the] 14th to 17th of July 2021.”