The inaugural Irish Heli-Expo was held at Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare, Ireland June 6-8 in response to an upsurge of helicopter operations in that nation.
In the past four years, the Irish helicopter market has tripled in size, according to the show’s organizers, with 170 helicopters now on the Irish registry, including AgustaWestland AW109s, Bell Helicopter 430s, and Sikorsky Aircraft S-76s. Premier Aviation Services, based at Leixlip’s Weston Airport in County Kildare, has become the first European customer for the Sikorsky S-76D.
The event was by invitation only. More than 2,800 visitors and 37 exhibitors attended over the three days, according to organizers, who claimed more than 21 million euros ($29 million) in business was conducted.
Ireland has seen an economic boom that has led to the purchase of helicopters by property developers and corporations to shuttle VIPs to and from Ireland and the United Kingdom.