The aviation training industry is all set to bounce back from a downturn in the oil and gas industry, according to Dennis Martin, Director of Sales & Marketing at Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.
Martin said business is good for the helicopter manufacturer, which has, for the last few years, been concentrating on the military flight training market: “That market has grown and developed and we have become a career training helicopter in that market. We’ve won most of the bids that we’ve gone against in Thailand, Peru and South America.”
He added: “We’ve just won a very competitive bid in the Czech Republic to supply the Czech Army with training helicopters. That’s the first Western aircraft they’ve owned, so they’re really excited, and that’s a lot of fun for us.”
Oil and gas downturn has knock-on effect
Martin was asked about how the downturn in the oil and gas market had affected Enstrom. He said that although it hadn’t directly affected the business, there was a knock-on effect. “When oil and gas sneezes, the rest of the industry catches a cold." he commented.
He added: “When they lay off pilots, those pilots go somewhere else and that puts a bit of downward pressure on the flight schools. They’re not moving as many students through and as they’re not moving so many students through, they’re not flying the aircraft as much. It does trickle down to us, but not really in a direct sense.”
Martin believed the situation would soon change. He added: “Markets, in general, are cyclical and I expect the oil and gas market to bounce back eventually and absorb some of those pilots, plus you’re going to see retirements. If there’s going to be a downturn, people are going to take early retirement and eventually there’s going to be a pool of pilots or people looking for pilots and that is going to trickle down to us as there’s going to be people looking to fill those jobs.”