Dubai Air Show

Farnborough and Bahrain shows mean business

 - November 14, 2009, 12:41 AM

It is not too late to sign up to exhibit at next year’s Farnborough International  airshow, but the remaining chalets and indoor exhibits are selling fast. With barely eight months to go before the event opens on July 19, 2010, organizers have announced plans to make the site more accessible by adding a new bus terminal near the main pedestrian entrance at Gate B, a car-free zone at the center of the show site and a plan for all traffic to flow in the same direction along the chalet lines.

Outside the show site, dedicated bus lanes will be extended on local approach roads to make the use of shuttle buses from local rail stations, Heathrow Airport and central London more attractive to visitors than private cars and so reduce congestion. One of the key aims is to make the heart of the show site more user-friendly for pedestrians so they do not have to weave through heavy traffic.

Just like the Dubai Airshow, Farnborough International (Stand W237) has found that despite the downturn being endured by the aerospace industry there are still new companies wanting to exhibit. The UK show is now offering a first-time exhibitor package that provides a low-cost way for exhibitors to try a presence at the event with a small nine-square-meter stand (100 sq ft) at an all-inclusive price that comprises furniture, electrical supplies and an area to display company graphics. Also available are corporate hospitality packages allowing companies to entertain clients.

Farnborough International also has seen companies opting to retain their chalets, sometimes focusing their participation exclusively on them even if they must reduce the size of or abandon their exhibit-hall stands altogether. According to the organizer, companies are eager to exploit networking opportunities based on the show’s new themed days with associated conferences. Monday, opening day, will focused on the defense sector; Tuesday will be aviation day; Wednesday is space day, Thursday is for security and Friday is Futures Day, which aims to attract young people into the industry.

This week, Farnborough International (www.farnborough.com) is launching a new online newsletter that will include video, maps and interactive features including links to exhibitor Web sites.

Next Stop: Bahrain
Farnborough International is also here promoting the new Bahrain International Airshow, which will be staged early next year for the first time (January 21 to 23). The event is nearly completely sold out, with all 40 chalets taken, fairly evenly split among firms involved in commercial aerospace, defense and business aviation.

The Bahrain show has taken a different approach by building an event entirely around chalets that will allow companies to focus on meetings with high-level clients and prospective customers. The event is being held at Bahrain’s Sakhir air base, and exhibitors will be able to exhibit aircraft directly in front of their 2,150-sq-ft chalets, which feature meeting and dining rooms.

There will also be an extensive flying display each day from the 12,000-foot runway of the air base, which is home to the royal flight department. Customer demonstration flights will be allowed between 10 a.m. and noon.

Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Affairs department and Farnborough International are jointly organizing this addition to the international airshow calendar. Bahrain has a rich aviation heritage, having been the location for the first recorded flight in the Middle East just after World War I. In 1932, it was part of the Imperial Airways route network to and from India and subsequently the first destination for scheduled Concorde flights.