F’boro Airshow welcomes back business aircraft park

 - September 20, 2007, 9:56 AM

The world-famous Farnborough International Airshow will mark its 60th anniversary when it is staged next year from July 14 to 20. And once again the UK show will feature a dedicated business aircraft park to give exhibitors a higher profile and greater flexibility over how and when they display their products.

At the July 2006 Farnborough show, the business aviation sector generated a total of $550 million worth of aircraft sales, a five-fold increase over the $100 million tally achieved at the 2004 show. At the 2008 event, the Business Aircraft Park will be open for the first three days of the main show (from July 14 to 16), making it more practical and affordable for exhibitors to participate, according to organizers.

Next time around, the business aircraft park will also feature additional space allowing more exhibits. In 2006, the park featured more than 30 aircraft with its own entrance and reception area, as well as convenient access to the chalets of business aviation exhibitors. Around $2 million is being invested to upgrade the main show site with improvements to the exhibit halls and other facilities. This work includes increased provisioning for air conditioning and more convenient site access. Organizers say the are committed to avoiding a repeat of the power outages that lasted for several hours on the opening day of last year’s show.

Overall, Farnborough International 2008 is expected to experience additional growth after the successful 2006 event attracted some 1,480 exhibitors from 35 countries. Exhibit-space sales are already up more than 20 percent compared with the same period ahead of the 2006 show. Farnborough International executives are here at the NBAA convention to engage with the business aviation community (Booth No. 5115).

Meanwhile, Farnborough International has just launched a program to use the historic site (located some 30 miles southwest of London) for other events between the biennial air shows. Farnborough International Venue and Events will offer almost 50,000 sq ft of covered exhibition space and is set to open later this fall.

Next year also marks the 100th anniversary of Britain’s first powered flight, which was achieved by American pioneer Samuel Cody at the Farnborough site. A special historic fly-by is being arranged and will include aircraft that were at the cutting edge of the aerospace industry when the show was first held in 1948.