Helicopter Association International (HAI) today released details about its plans to hold Heli-Expo 2021, scheduled to take place March 22 to 25 in New Orleans.
HAI reports more than 300 companies, including most of the helicopter industry’s major OEMs, have booked more than two-thirds of the available show floor, with the first stage of the show-floor lottery closing in July. Housing for the show opened this week with more than 10,000 room nights secured for the first day of the world’s largest civil helicopter show and exhibition. HAI states some hotels have already sold out.
“We fully expect to be able to hold HAI Heli-Expo 2021 in New Orleans. Our early numbers tell me there is an entire industry that is eager to come out of quarantine and get together to do business,” said James Viola, president and CEO, HAI. “We know people are concerned. It’s our job to manage the risk for attendees and exhibitors and ensure their safety during their visit with us, just as our members do for their customers.”
HAI explains the Heli-Expo 2021 event site, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, has been preparing to safely host in-person meetings. It recently became one of the first event sites to be accredited under the Global BioRisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR Program, meeting standards for cleaning and disinfection of infectious agents.
HAI staff and the host city’s tourism bureau, New Orleans and Company, recently led a site visit for exhibitors, touring the convention centre both in person and virtually, as well as hotels in the housing bloc and potential event spaces. HAI notes its operations department surveyed the convention centre landing zone and then flew the route from the staging area, New Orleans Lakefront Airport, to the landing zone.
More than 50 helicopters and 600 companies typically fill the Heli-Expo show floor, in addition to the conference holding more than 100 industry meetings.
“We’re expecting great things from New Orleans. This is an area that knows and loves us – helicopters are important to their economy, and they haven’t forgotten that helicopters saved hundreds of lives following Hurricane Katrina,” said Viola. “They like hearing the rotors turn down there, and we’ll bring one of the largest fleets into the city since then.”