Crisis or Opportunity?
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Crisis or Opportunity?

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Humberto Lobo - ASESA
Director General


What some call a crisis, others call an opportunity as hard times separate the passionate companies from the rest. When oil prices began their plunge in 2014, helicopter services were among the hardest hit. Lower oil prices mean companies are willing to take fewer risks. That leads to fewer operations and ultimately lands at the door of the helicopter segment in the form of reduced demand for services like personnel transport, aerial supervision or offshore operations.

One key to survival, and eventual success, is adaptability, says Humberto Lobo, Director General of helicopter services company ASESA. Ensuring competitive advantages against other service providers will help guarantee prosperity in leaner times. “2016 was a difficult year for helicopter service providers, forcing players in the industry to become better,” says Lobo. “During this period ASESA focused on improving itself by becoming more cost-effective and enhancing its productivity by improving processes and services.”

The helicopter executive says passion also plays a part. “ASESA is always analyzing new ways to renew itself and stay at the front of the pack. What differentiates us from the competition is our passion toward the sector. This year ASESA turns 40 thanks to its excellent services. ASESA is a well-known name in the sector. We have trained about 95 percent of helicopter pilots in Mexico.”

Diversification is one of the solutions that helicopter service providers can work on until activity in the oil and gas sectors resumes because focusing solely on a market that is going through hard times and is not expecting a strong recovery in the near future could spell disaster. Serving other companies with its expertise in repairs and maintenance has helped ASESA support itself during the lean times. But even then, it is not safe to stick to single markets. “We are exploring other attractive business opportunities,” Lobo says.

Even though the industry is not expecting a quick rebound in oil prices – in New York in early May, the price of a barrel hovered around US$50 – in Mexico the Energy  Reform will likely bring a positive change to the market.
With more players coming to the country, an increase in helicopter operations will follow suit. Nevertheless, these
new international companies will also have high standards 191 that only the best service providers will be able to meet.

Helicopter service providers will have to acquire training and certifications from international third parties. But resilience will also be extremely important as a more diverse range of companies will also mean a wider range of operations and expectations.

In this regard, Lobo sees ASESA having a strong tactical advantage against its competitors. “We always try to accommodate our client’s individual needs because every client is different. This strategy has allowed us to generate many returning clients who like our services, quality and personnel. Over 90 percent of our clients are return customers. Some of them, such as PEMEX and CFE, have been with us for many years.”

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