EBACE 2003 looks to set one for the record books

 - January 18, 2008, 10:51 AM

The third annual European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (EBACE) will return to Geneva next month (May 7 to 9), with the event set to surpass the scale of the two previous shows. At press time, the number of exhibitors booked had reached 174, and at least 28 aircraft are expected in the static park located right outside the Palais d’Exposition (Palexpo) at Geneva International Airport.

EBACE is organized jointly by the European Business Aviation As- sociation (EBAA) and NBAA. In February, spurred by the event’s quick success in establishing itself on the international airshow calendar, the partners agreed to extend their cooperation for another year. They will keep the event in Geneva, staging it from May 25 to 27 next year.

“Business aviation in Europe is now a mature industry,” noted EBAA chief executive Fernand François. “It needs only full recognition by the authorities and the right public perception. EBACE, which features key legislative and regulatory authorities and attracts a growing audience, is the right forum to help achieve these goals.” EBACE 2002 drew 4,824 professional visitors, 30 percent more than the inaugural 2001 event.

The EBACE conference program will include highly topical updates on the transfer of responsibilities from Europe’s JAA to the new European Aviation Safety Agency. Among the speakers on this topic will be the European Commission’s senior air transport advisor, Claude Probst, and JAA operations director Georges Rebender.

Inevitably in this time of world tension, security is also high on the agenda. It is doubtless with this in mind that new FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has been invited to address the meeting.

Other convention sessions will include a detailed discussion of current and future technical changes for users of European airspace and aircraft registration issues for U.S. and European operators. Another session will look at how operators can overcome various obstacles to business aviation operations in different parts of the world.

In news terms, EBACE now gives manufacturers the opportunity to update major product and service announcements made the previous fall at the annual NBAA show. It also allows them to communicate more directly with a European audience.
At press time, Cessna appeared set to have the largest presence on the static display line, with no fewer than seven aircraft due to make an appearance. The lineup will include the Citation CJ1, CJ2, Bravo, Encore, Excel and X, as well as the 208 Grand Caravan turboprop single. The company will also be offering a progress report on its new CJ3 and Mustang.

For Gulfstream, EBACE 2003 is likely to be the last show at which it exhibits its classic large-cabin product range, with a GIV-SP and a GV being joined on the ramp by a G100 and G200 (formerly the Astra SPX and Galaxy, respectively). The latest members of the GIV/V stable are in final assembly, completion or flight test under their new names the– G300/G400 for the GIV-SP and the G500/550 for the GV/GV-SP. Deliveries of these latest production variants are due to start in the second and third quarter.

Gulfstream executives are expected to give a briefing on what European customers can expect from the revamped and increased product range, which also includes the new G150, a derivative of the G100 offering a wider fuselage and a more aerodynamic nose. By next year, the new family should be ready to take a collective bow at EBACE.

Gulfstream may even choose to disclose more details of plans to offer an upgraded version of the Rolls-Royce Tay engines that power the GIV-SP/G400. The upgrade is expected to include FADEC, among other improvements.

Dassault Aviation will undoubtedly be providing a progress report on its Falcon 7X development. It too can be expected to contribute several of its existing models to the EBACE static display line.

Among business jet manufacturers, Bombardier and Raytheon are also booked as EBACE exhibitors. Raytheon will be showing a full complement of its business aircraft, and there will be M&O sessions for the Hawker, Beechjet and King Air.

At least one Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) is expected to make an appearance, as is its rival, the Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ). Brazil’s Embraer has committed to displaying the Legacy and it can expect to be pressed on reported plans to offer an executive jet derived from the Embraer 170/190 regional jet family.

Italy’s Piaggio Aero Industries will exhibit its Avanti twin-turboprop pusher. The company has just announced a contract with French charter operator Pan Europeenne Air Service for two Avantis. It is to receive the first turboprop next month and holds an option for a second, having chosen the Avanti as a replacement for its King Air 300.

Socata is expected to give further indication as to its plans for a new light jet. It has been conducting market studies for the project and has already indicated a preference for a twin-engine design. In Geneva, the French manufacturer will definitely be displaying the latest C version of its TBM 700 turboprop single.

Ibis Aerospace will also be introducing its Ae270 to the European business aviation community. At press time, no helicopter manufacturers had signed up for the show.
The EBACE exhibitor list also includes all the leading business aircraft engine and avionics manufacturers, such as Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rockwell Collins, Rolls-Royce and Universal Avionics.

Debutante exhibitors at the European show include satellite communications specialists Blue Sky Network, Satcom Direct and Connexion by Boeing. Other EBACE first-timers include navigation-aid supplier FreeFlight Systems, Michelin Tire and French maintenance provider SECA.

FBOs and airports are even more plentiful on this year’s exhibitor roster, with companies coming from as far afield as Iceland and Syria to attract new business aircraft handling clients. All four major flight-planning groups– Air Routing International, Universal Weather & Aviation, Baseops International and Jeppesen–will be back at EBACE again.

In addition to the usual full program of manufacturer maintenance and operations briefings, EBACE will feature a workshop to help operators adopt flight manuals that meet the new International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). The new standard was introduced last year under the auspices of the International Business Aviation Council. More information about the workshop, which will be held on May 10 and 11, is available from NBAA’s Lydia Sampson through e-mail (lsampson@nbaa.org) or via www.nbaa.org/seminars/fomw.

More information about EBACE can be found at www.ebace.com.