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Current Industry Circumstances Place the Essential Services that our Industry Provides, at Risk

A sagging western fire season and COVID-19 have placed many operators and the essential services that our industry provides at risk, moving forward. Each week I speak with a variety of operators who are struggling through this season. There is virtually unanimous agreement that for those operators that survive, our industry will be in recovery for the next few years.  Many discretionary projects this Spring were postponed until next year or cancelled altogether. Social distancing requirements and other mitigation requirements have placed a chill on many customers that has been slow to warm. Operators are making every effort to mitigate the risk of transmission, but naturally the confidence of the traveling public has been slow to rebound.

The trouble will be, if the aviation business continues to struggle, it may reduce the number of operators that are still around to carry out essential services next year, and going forward. I regularly hear that there are “too many operators” competing for the same business, and that pricing has been cutthroat. The helicopter industry has never been for the faint of heart, but this pandemic may change the complexion of our industry in very significant ways.  The “field of dreams” in places like Dryden still appears to be full, but even there – where the potential for work appears to be high – not a whole lot of flying has actually materialized this Spring and Summer, so far. The Provincial Fire fighting agencies have been so used-to a surplus of equipment, it may very well be hard to contemplate a shortage of equipment going forward.  

HAC is preparing to make another submission to government – in support of industry-specific financial support - that will highlight the potential damage that this Pandemic will cause for our customers – but particularly for our customers that hire us to provide essential services. If you have other examples of challenges facing our industry in the Age of Coronavirus please contact fred.jones@h-a-c.ca without delay, to help inform the content of the HAC submission.