Not business as usual at Farnborough 2004
Organizers of the UK’s biennial Farnborough International Air Show (to be held July 19 to 25) have signed up several major exhibitors for the event’s new Business Aircraft Park, with some manufacturers including regional airliners in its separate static display area alongside their executive transports. The show-within-a-show is to be staged over the first three trade days of the event (July 19 to 21) at Farnborough Airport’s old business enclave, immediately adjacent to the main show site.
Bombardier Aerospace has confirmed that it will likely have at least four aircraft in the Business Aircraft Park’s dedicated static display. These will probably include its new Global 5000, Challenger 300 and Learjet 40, as well as a Q400 regional turboprop.
Stork Fokker plans to show a Fokker 100 with a 54-set corporate shuttle interior. Known as an F100EJ, the retired airliner can carry extra fuel tanks that boost range to more than 3,000 nm and is expected to carry a price tag in the region of $12 million.
Also confirmed is Raytheon’s UK distributor NAC Aviation, which will show a Premier I and Hawker 800XP. Piaggio’s UK dealer, Sloane Aviation, has also committed to bringing a P.180 Avanti to the new Farnborough event.
Embraer will exhibit a Legacy business jet alongside an Embraer 170 airliner. Dassault Aviation will show a Falcon 900EX, while AvCraft will have an Envoy, a business jet version of the 328JET regional jet, on display.
A spokesman for Gulfstream Aerospace told AIN that it has decided to stay within the main Farnborough show site. The focus of its presence there will be the special missions and government applications for its business jet family.
As of mid-May, most other business aircraft manufacturers had yet to confirm whether or not they intended to be at the Business Aircraft Park. Those still holding reservations included Aero Vodochody (the Czech partner in the Ibis Ae270), Pilatus and Safire Aircraft.
Airbus and Boeing will be present touting their respective Airbus Corporate Jetliner and Boeing Business Jet offerings. NBAA has also booked a booth at the show.
To date, around half of the 25 booths available at the Business Aircraft Park have been booked by both static-display exhibitors and business aviation support and service companies, including Universal Weather & Aviation, AvCraft, Fokker Services, Avcard and IEC.
The two-square-meter (21.5-sq-ft) booths are being marketed by European Business Air News (EBAN), which is acting as SBAC’s sales agent for this part of the show. The booths will be located in three of the business aircraft park’s chalets.
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).
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 north west side of the London-area airfield, and visiting (as opposed to exhibiting) business aircraft will be handled at this facility. 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 airshow.
Lost in the Crowd
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–like other major air shows–has been losing business aviation exhibitors for this reason, and thus decided to create a tailor-made exhibition package to give them a reason to go to the UK show.
It remains to be seen how well supported and attended the Farnborough business aircraft park will be since the event will occur just two months after the well established annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE). Stainer maintained that Farnborough will deliver a much broader visitor base than last month’s EBACE, which is directed largely at existing business aviation professionals.
It is certainly true that Farnborough attracts numerous VIPs, government, top corporate executives and wealthy individuals who may be new prospective 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.
However, Cessna has decided not to exhibit at Farnborough at all this year. Instead, the Wichita-based manufacturer intensified its European sales and marketing efforts at the EBACE show, where it had a major presence.
For more information about Farnborough International’s Business Aircraft Park, visit the show Web site www.farnborough.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the indoor booths, contact EBAN’s Dawn Marshall at email@example.com.
Farnborough Bookings Up
The main FI2004 show has been officially sold out since February, but organizers are still trying to accommodate some late bookings and those on the waiting list. At press time, advance bookings for trade tickets were up about 20 percent over the same period before the 2002 show. SBAC is now expecting to best the 2002 visitor tally of 290,000 (including 170,000 trade visitors).
In the air-transport arena, the focus of attention will be the clash of the titans, pitting the Airbus A380 super-large airliner against Boeing’s recently launched 7E7 twinjet. Since February’s Asian Aerospace show in Singapore, the beleaguered Boeing camp has received a major boost in the shape of a 50-ship 7E7 order from Japan’s All Nippon Airways.
The deal gave the Boeing board sufficient confidence to launch the program and will allow it to credibly join in battle with its European rival over their conflicting market assessments. Airbus believes that carriers’ overriding need is for maximum capacity to make the most of limited slot availability at major hubs. Boeing has countered with the 7E7, which it contends will give operators the right mix of speed, range and capacity to bypass hubs and expand the number of direct city pairs.
All the world’s major regional airliner makers will also be represented at FI2004. Bombardier could conceivably take the opportunity to confirm reported plans for a new 100-seat development.
Among the helicopter manufacturers booked to exhibit at the show are AgustaWestland, Bell/ Agusta and Eurocopt