Business aircraft park at Farnborough 2004

 - March 16, 2007, 2:31 PM

Organizers of the UK’s biennial Farnborough International airshow are solidifying exhibitors for the event’s new “business aircraft park.” The show-within-a-show is to be staged over the first three trade days of the main event (July 19 to 21) in Farnborough Airport’s old business enclave.

The former TAG Aviation terminal will be available as a reception area and meeting rooms for the business aviation contingent. Since the last Farnborough show in 2002, TAG has opened its new business aviation center on the northwest side of the London-area airfield, and visiting (as opposed to exhibiting) business aircraft will be handled at this facility.

Exhibitors will be able to show their aircraft on a dedicated static park and can host visitors in chalets or outdoor exhibits. Customer demonstration flights can be made between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and the business aircraft will still be eligible to participate in the daily flying display of the main Farnborough Air Show.

According to Amanda Stainer, head of exhibitions with the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), business aviation companies have indicated that their presence at Farnborough International has tended to be overshadowed by the strong air-transport and defense elements at the show. She conceded that Farnborough–and other major airshows–have been losing business aviation exhibitors for this reason and so the SBAC decided to create a tailor-made exhibition package to give them a reason to stay. Another factor is that business aircraft manufacturers have sometimes found it difficult to commit their new models to remaining at Farnborough for the full seven days of the event.

But why would business aviation firms want to exhibit at Farnborough or Paris, now that they have their own dedicated event in the annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE)? The Geneva-based event is generally held in May–just a month before Paris and two months before Farnborough.

Stainer insisted that Farnborough can deliver a much broader visitor base than EBACE, which is largely directed at existing business aviation professionals. Her contention is that Farnborough attracts numerous VVIPs, government, top corporate executives and wealthy individuals who may be prospective new business aviation customers. A dedicated shuttle service and courtesy cars will transport visitors between the main show site (about three quarters of a mile away) and the new business aircraft park. “What we offer is a genuine global audience for business aviation and the real prospect of attracting new customers,” Stainer told AIN.

Civil helicopters might also be featured in the business aircraft park. SBAC is also looking to sign up fractional ownership and block charter providers, although it is questionable whether the new area will be extended to all general aviation aircraft.
The decision faced by manufacturers such as Bombardier, Embraer, Boeing and Airbus, which have both business aviation and airline products to show at Farnborough–is whether it ultimately makes sense to split their presence at the event between the main site and the business aircraft park. Bookings for the new event are expected to be firmed up this month.

The cost of exhibiting aircraft in the business aircraft park ranges from £450 ($810) for aircraft weighing up to 1,100 pounds to £5,200 ($9,400) for those of between 88,000 pounds and 132,000 pounds. Outdoor booths are priced at £80 ($145) per square meter, with a minimum exhibit size of 15 square meters. Chalets for the three-day event are priced at £20,000 ($36,000).

For more information about Farnborough International’s business aircraft park, visit the show Web site at www.farnborough.com or e-mail philippa.ewart@sbac.co.uk.