Dubai Air Show

Business booms for Farnborough

 - December 7, 2006, 9:51 AM

Business is booming for Farnborough International,  the company formed by the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) at the beginning of this year to run the UK’s own international airshow.

Trevor Sidebottom, who moved from the trade association to become managing director of the airshow company in June, said here Saturday that bookings for next year’s event, which will be staged at the historic Hampshire airfield July 17 through 23, are already 12 percent up compared with this stage of the 2004 show’s cycle.

Amanda Stainer, Farnborough International’s exhibition and events director, said innovations for next year’s show ranged from an extra dozen stands for business aircraft to a jazz bar for exhibitors.

The president’s enclosure and the Defence Export Services Organization chalet, which have dominated Bofors Hill between the exhibition halls and chalet lines in the center of the site, are moving so that exhibitors will be able to deploy combined stands and chalets. And the Boeing-sponsored media center is moving nearer to the heart of the action on the upper level of the two-story Hall 1A, which it will share with the jazz bar and an exhibitors’ restaurant able to serve lunch for more than 1,400 people in two sittings.

The business aircraft park was introduced for the first time at last year’s show: it attracted 12 aircraft and generated business worth £100 million ($172 million). Next year it will occupy a more central location so as to be visible from all the chalet lines. Exhibitors there will be able to take their aircraft away after the first three days if they wish.

The fact that Farnborough remains an operational airfield during the airshow, rather than being closed to anything but flying display traffic during the day as it did before 2004, means that manufacturers can schedule customer demonstration flights anytime outside the flying display rather than having to wait until the evening, Sidebottom added. It also means visitors with their own airplanes can fly directly to the show, rather than having to land at a nearby airport and complete the journey by road or helicopter.

Another innovation for 2006 will see the show hosting up to 1,000 young people in their teens and early twenties on the Friday. “The idea is to raise awareness of opportunities in aerospace through lectures, conferences and tours of the show,” Sidebottom said.