Farnborough International gets new schedule

 - December 17, 2007, 11:37 AM

The number of trade days at the next Farnborough International Air Show (July 18 to 23, 2006) has been reduced from five to four. Instead of starting on Monday, as it has in the past, the event will run from Tuesday through Sunday, and the first four days will be reserved for professional visitors, while the weekend will continue to be set aside for the public. There is no officially designated media day. Possible changes in the show’s organizers and scheduling were a subject of discussion at this year’s July show.

On Monday afternoon there will be an eve-of-show aerospace industry conference for senior executives and government officials followed by the annual Farnborough International dinner. Organizers have made the changes in response to exhibitor complaints about the rising cost of participation.

The biennial show will be run by Farnborough International Ltd, a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC). Farnborough International Ltd will operate from the SBAC headquarters in central London under the leadership of former Marshall Aerospace executive Colin Way, who worked on secondment to SBAC to organize this year’s show.

According to sources within the SBAC, four private-sector exhibition firms, including Reed Exhibitions (which runs Singapore’s Asian Aerospace show), were asked to submit bids to run the Farnborough show before SBAC decided to establish Farnborough International Ltd as a subsidiary. The SBAC has not officially commented on this process.

Further organizational details for future shows will be announced early next year. The significant changes to the event’s format and organization came out of an SBAC strategic review published in late September. In addition to recommending that the show be shortened, the strategic review team (composed of senior UK aerospace industry executives) also proposed that the show be more closely linked with the Royal International Air Tattoo (which now occurs the weekend before Farnborough).

The strategic review group concluded that SBAC needed to separate the organization of Farnborough International from the activities (and budget) of the trade organization because of the commercial risks associated with running the show and the fact that the show and preparations for it require an inordinate amount of SBAC employee time and resources.

The report pointed out operational limitations of the Farnborough site and suggested that organizers consider other locations in the long term. It also acknowledged that exhibitors are unhappy with the overall cost of participating in the show and its timing in July. Organizers are conducting further investigation into these issues, which could result in more changes being proposed to SBAC president Kevin Smith and the SBAC Council.

Paris Air Show Changes
The Farnborough International show will now be a day shorter than the Paris Air Show, which is held at Le Bourget Airport in June of odd-numbered years. In February, Paris organizer Salons Internationaux de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace (SIAE) reduced the duration of the French show from nine to seven days by eliminating the traditional opening weekend. French President Jacques Chirac will open next year’s show on Monday, June 13 and the show will run through Sunday, June 19. The first four days will be reserved for professional visitors and Friday and the weekend will be set aside for the public. There will be no formally designated media day.

Paris Air Show commissaire général Louis Le Portz told AIN earlier this year that the two-day reduction in the event’s duration is part of a broader SIAE strategy to help its customers to reduce costs. “Our goal is to keep fixed costs down, simplify billing and increase comfort for exhibitors and the public,” Le Portz said.

SIAE, a wholly owned subsidiary of French aerospace trade association GIFAS, will increase exhibitor fees for next year’s show by three percent, no more than France’s cost-of-living inflation since last year’s event. Farnborough International has yet to make public its pricing formula for the 2006 show.

SIAE has also been negotiating with hotels and airlines to secure discounts for exhibitors and showgoers.

Among the anticipated aircraft highlights of next June’s Paris show are the first flying prototypes of the Airbus A380 and Dassault’s new Falcon 7X. More information about the shows can be found at www.paris-air-show.com and www.farnborough.com.