The 2012 Farnborough International Airshow will fly in the face of still-tough business conditions, according to organizers of the biennial event to be staged in the UK July 9 to 15. “The last two years have seen a very difficult economic environment, but 2012 is looking like it will be a really great show,” said Farnborough International chief executive Shaun Ormrod.
This year’s Farnborough show, being staged less than a month before the London Olympic Games, is completely sold out and is set to accommodate some 1,455 exhibitors from around 70 countries. What remains to be seen is how close to the tally of 120,000 expected business visitors the 2012 show will attract and whether it will generate anything like the $47 billion worth of deals announced in July 2010.
Organizers have reported increases in the size of several national pavilions, including those of Italy, France, Russia, the U.S., Mexico, the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland. Overall, one quarter of 2012 exhibitors have increased the amount of space they’ve booked compared with their presence two years ago. At the same time, 28 percent of 2012 exhibitors are exhibiting for the first time at Farnborough.
“What this means is that over 50 percent of our customer base is upwardly dynamic, which means that they are looking to do more business and win new business,” Ormrod told a pre-show press conference in May.
One new feature of the 2012 Farnborough show is a new program to attract pre-arranged delegations of senior executives from the civil aerospace and air transport sectors—mirroring the long-established arrangements for official military delegations. Working with the Aerospace Export group of the UK’s Aerospace, Defence & Space (ADS) trade association, Farnborough International has invited executives from key aerospace prime contractors and from airlines around the world. The idea is to give exhibitors assured access to key decision makers responsible for selecting manufacturing partners and contractors, as well as to heads of air carrier procurement.
ADS is organizing a series of conferences during Farnborough International. On Tuesday, July 10, the conference programs will focus on the aerospace and space sectors before switching to defense and security on Wednesday, July 11.
Also on Tuesday and Wednesday, aerospace buyers will be given the chance to have pre-arranged access to international supply chain companies. This is expected to see more than 50 industry buyers attend more than 800 separate meetings with exhibitors.
In addition, 39 military delegations have been invited and planned attendance by the UK’s own Ministry of Defence has been boosted. Farnborough International assigns project managers to work with exhibitors to maximize their exposure to the official delegations.
Another enlarged aspect of the 2012 Farnborough show will be the unmanned systems showcase, which will occupy approximately 50 percent more space in Hall 3 than it did in 2010. Several exhibitors left last year’s show with new orders and evidently this has inspired larger investments in the unmanned sector of the event, with display space in this area completely sold out. This year’s show will feature an advice clinic for unmanned systems customers and prospective partners. Hall 3 will also feature a new zone committed to aviation security.
Farnborough International’s promotional video gives a good impression of the show’s diversity.