Farnborough airshow looks forward to 60th anniversary

 - May 17, 2008, 11:51 PM

For any business aircraft manufacturers that have so far resisted the temptation, it is not too late to book space to display products and services at the Farnborough International airshow (FI2008), the global aerospace show taking place in the UK, July 14 to 21. The Farnborough show’s head of marketing, Philippa Ewart, told EBACE Convention News that the business aircraft community is very important to the show, which this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Accordingly, she and her colleagues will be here at EBACE’08 tomorrow promoting the biennial event, which alternates with France’s Paris Air Show.

FI2008 is continuing the Business Aircraft Park (BAP) concept first introduced as a three-day “show within a show” four years ago, allowing exhibitors the flexibility to withdraw aircraft after the first three trade days of the seven-day event. However, manufacturers are retaining the option to keep their aircraft on display for the duration of the show if they prefer.

Farnborough International–the company that organizes the show–believes the BAP generated some $550 million worth of sales at the FI2006 event. FI is a subsidiary of UK industry trade group the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

Having adopted a very flexible approach designed to meet the requirements of exhibitors who may need to get aircraft back into service with their customers, FI told EBACE Convention News that although all chalets had been allocated, it might still be able to accommodate latecomers. “There is still space for aircraft. We always try to fit everyone in,” said Ewart.

Also still available is the chance to sponsor elements of the BAP. According to FI, title sponsorship of the BAP offers an extensive range of high-profile rights and benefits.
A literally concrete indication of continuing FI investment in the show infrastructure has been the construction of new permanent hard-standing aircraft-parking “pads” close to the BAP hospitality area and the adjoining chalets. In addition, a specially developed aviation trackway is being laid, and will accommodate as many as six aircraft of up to Airbus ACJ or Boeing BBJ size and weight.

FI has also accommodated manufacturers’ aspirations by providing flexibility for them to show their aircraft on the ground, with the freedom to provide customer demonstration flights after the flying display each day. The organizers also are providing a reception building where BAP exhibitors can conduct meetings and they also are permitting them to have a small information display alongside their aircraft.

The newly extended BAP is located toward the west end of the static aircraft display area, close to Chalet Row J and within good view of Row A. French manufacturer Dassault Aviation, which was formerly housed in the northeast facing Row K, has already taken the first two of the 10 Row J chalet units. Other occupants of Row J are TAG Aviation and Hawker Beechcraft.

Gulfstream has already booked display space, while Grob and Avions de Transport Regional are new participants in the business aircraft area. Grob will be in Row A, while ATR will occupy two aircraft pads and a chalet at the end of Row K.

Ewart stressed that business aircraft makers don’t have to restrict themselves to the BAP at Farnborough. For example, Bombardier has retained its chalet in Row C and will have a new panoramic building near its traditional aircraft position in the main static aircraft line. Cessna, which returned to Farnborough in 2006 after a break in participation, will be back again.

The BAP will be open for six hours, from 10 a.m. on opening day, July 14, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the next two days.