HAI President and CEO James A. Viola presents a State of the Industry address at HAI HELI-EXPO 2023.

HAI President and CEO James A. Viola sent a positive message about the outlook for the vertical aviation industry during the first full day of education and safety programming at HAI HELI-EXPO 2023, taking place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. “Walking the halls and talking to people,” he says, “I’m feeling the growth and energy here.”

Viola reviewed HAI’s five strategic initiatives that will position the industry for growth and discussed some of the programs being developed in support of those initiatives, including new benefits for HAI members.

HAI’s work to promote safety was a central discussion point. HAI offers many free safety programs and services for both members and the entire industry. The goal, Viola says, is to provide the right resources to help the industry achieve a vision of zero accidents. He also said that the current high cost of aviation insurance is directly related to the industry’s accident rate.

Turning to the trade show part of HAI HELI-EXPO, Viola spoke about OEM sales increasing 6% in 2023, the second year since coming out of the pandemic. Based on his conversations with manufacturers and suppliers, Viola anticipates that level of sales activity would only be increasing as the year progressed. He also talked about HAI’s work to support the introduction of advanced air mobility (AAM) aircraft and technology.

Viola also reviewed some of the actions HAI has taken on behalf of air tour operators whose businesses have been targeted by state legislators. HAI recently filed suit to prevent the State of Hawaii from violating the constitutional precept that reserves aviation regulation for the federal government.

Finally, Viola said that the HAI Board of Directors has initiated a rebranding effort that will point to the industry’s future while honoring its historic legacy.

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