Farnborough Air Show

Show site improvements more than just a facelift

 - July 7, 2008, 9:31 AM

Since the 2006 show, the Farnborough site has undergone many infrastructure changes designed to improve and enhance the event for all attendees. A multimillion-dollar investment has produced “exceptional innovations,” according to organizer Farnborough International, a subsidiary company of UK aerospace industry group the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC).

One involved the demolition of Farnborough International’s own offices to provide space for a very distinctive building dubbed a “crystal palace.” The four-story glass unit, designed by Specialist Structures, allows exhibitors Thales and Kallman Worldwide to combine exhibition and corporate hospitality space in a central location.
Thales’ facility includes a ground-floor atrium to show its civil and military capabilities with complementary outside displays. A mezzanine level provides meeting rooms, while meals are served on the top floor, which has a terrace and bar overlooking the airfield.

Other investment has gone into new or improved facilities and increased durability and capability of utility services. For example, Farnborough International has spent about $2 million on the site’s high- and low-voltage electricity networks, including replacement of all transformers and switchgear at three substations. The organizers have replaced all low-voltage switchgear in the site switchrooms, and following this year’s show, they plan to upgrade the rest of the low- and high-voltage mains. They have also updated air-conditioning units to avoid the discomfort showgoers experienced during the infamous Farnborough heat wave of July 2006.

Underground infrastructure changes include improved or introduced water supply in Hall 1a, hospitality chalet rows D, J and L, and the Finmeccanica area (Outdoor Exhibits 1 & 2) at the east end of the Bravo static aircraft display area. There is also a larger, improved contractors’ area.

Access routes around the Farnborough show site have also improved, including the resurfaced road in front of Hall 1, where a wider pavement offers pedestrians more space to walk. A more obvious development–the $10 million construction of a new north-south road at the east end of the airfield–links the show site to the Farnborough Business Park, paid for by its owner Segro. Although built to relieve congestion around the business park, the new road has given Farnborough International an opportunity to improve show traffic management.

Other developments include a new Queen’s Gate roundabout with direct access via a southern-link road to Government House Road. Farnborough has benefited from site renovations, with permanent headquarters and show control offices on the south side of the site replacing the demolished buildings. From there, Farnborough International will manage and direct further site enhancements that it calls “a major imperative over the next few years.”