EBACE Preview:

 - May 15, 2008, 7:49 AM

The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) is returning to the scene of its highly successful debut last April, when the second annual event opens its doors once again at Geneva’s Palais d’Expositions (Palexpo) from May 28 to 30.

This year the event is expected to draw 40 percent more visitors (5,000 compared with last year’s total of 3,620). They will be able to visit at least 202 companies and view 33 aircraft on static display (compared with 190 companies and 27 aircraft last year). At press time, when bookings were still being taken, the total area of exhibition space for EBACE 2002 stood at 50,377 sq ft–11 percent more than the 45,533 sq ft occupied a year ago.

Once again, EBACE is being organized jointly by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the U.S. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The partners have already committed to coming back to Geneva again for the third annual staging of the event from May 7 to 9 next year.

In addition to the convenience of its on-airport convention center with an immediately adjoining static-display line, the Swiss city has also been favored for its central European location and for the fact that as many as one-third of Geneva International Airport’s 150,000 annual movements are business aircraft.

Early last month a new business aviation terminal (designated C3) opened at the airport. It is the new operational headquarters for Swiss-based executive charter group PrivatAir and also includes the new Geneva premises of Jet Aviation and TAG Aviation. Full customs and immigration services are available on site.

EBACE is expected to draw a crowd from beyond western Europe, with visitors coming from Russia and as far afield as the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The event is intended to be as much a showcase for the benefits of business aviation as it is a forum for issues confronting operators of the approximately 2,000 corporate aircraft currently registered in European countries.

Following the successful formula of the annual NBAA shows, the exhibition will run in parallel with a busy convention program, with visitors free to participate as they wish. The program’s duration has been extended by half a day, running from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. on May 28 and 29 and from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. on May 30.

The convention agenda will include discussions on the following topics: the effect of regulatory issues on business aviation; aircraft equipage for worldwide operations, with emphasis on RVSM, Etops and RNP; an update on the proposed JAR OPS 2 operating rules for corporate aircraft; the International Business Aviation Council’s new international standards for business aircraft operations code of practice; aircraft basing options (offshore registration and so on); current and future noise and environmental regulations; the role of helicopters in Europe; human factors in long-range operations; single-engine operations; and business aviation options (ownership, fractional ownership, management and charter).

The EBACE 2002 program also includes an extensive series of manufacturer briefings on all three days. On the evening of May 29, EBACE organizers will hold their reception and banquet, including the presentation of the EBACE European Business Aviation Awards.

New to the show this year is Embry-Riddle’s on-site professional development seminar on May 27. The eight-hour course, “Group Dynamics and Work Team Communications,” costs $350 and counts toward completion of the university’s Corporate Aviation Management Certificate Program.

Several business aviation companies told AIN they expect EBACE 2002 to benefit from something of a vacuum created by the rescheduling of last year’s NBAA show in New Orleans. A significant number of companies and visitors–especially those from Europe–were not able to attend the rescheduled NBAA event in December due to budgetary or logistical reasons. They are now understood to be ready to make a strong showing at next month’s EBACE, business aviation’s next big event since the NBAA show.

Old Rivalry Heads to Europe

Gulfstream will have a powerful presence in Geneva next month. For the first time since it acquired Galaxy Aerospace last year, the Savannah, Ga.-based manufacturer will have its full family of business jets on display in Europe, namely the G100 (formerly the Astra SPX), G200 (formerly the Galaxy), GIV-SP and GV.

Rival Bombardier Aerospace will be looking to make up for lost time, having decided to skip the inaugural EBACE show last year. The surprise decision was prompted by the close proximity of the event to last June’s Paris Air Show, but, according to insiders, the Canadian manufacturer soon regretted the move when the new show proved a big hit.

At this year’s event (with its more manageable two-month gap before the Farnborough Air Show in late July), Bombardier will doubtless be heavily marketing its new Global 5000–a truncated and slightly shorter-range version of its Global Express. The company will also be touting its recently relaunched Flexjet Europe Jet Membership block-charter program.

For Dassault, the EBACE show will be a prime opportunity to give an update on its in-development Falcon 7X. The high-performance, Mach 0.90 trijet will feature a new-technology wing and avionics suite. It is expected to begin flight tests in early 2005, with deliveries to start in 2006.

Cessna will be seeking to advance the European potential of its new Citation Sovereign, which made its first flight at the end of February en route to anticipated certification during the fourth quarter of next year. The manufacturer, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is also pushing its Citation Bravo and Excel as cost-effective replacements for older business jets in the continent’s executive charter fleet. On static display Cessna will have a Grand Caravan and Citations CJ1, CJ2, Excel and X.

Thinking Big at EBACE

Airbus was a strong supporter of EBACE 2001 and will be back in force at this year’s event with an Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) on static display and a booth encompassing almost 2,000 sq ft. At press time the European airframer had
delivered 12 ACJs, with nine already in service, and the remainder in completion.

Boeing expects that at least one of its Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) will be on display in Geneva. International sales v-p Manfred Schindler is due to attend, and BBJ’s new president, Lee Monson, may also make an appearance. To date, 14 percent of BBJ sales have been in Europe.

Regional jet rivals Fairchild Dornier and Embraer will be competing in the super-large business jet sector with each other and with the BBJ and ACJ. Fairchild is offering the Envoy 7, a business jet version of its 728JET, which at press time was preparing for its first flight. Embraer’s alternative stand-up cabin contender is the new Legacy, derived from its ERJ-135 regional jet.

After its recent decision to place on hold development of the Hawker 450, Raytheon will be at EBACE to convince the European market that it still has a sufficiently diverse portfolio of business aircraft to offer. The Hawker Horizon, which is currently in flight testing, is likely to be the prime feature of its booth in Geneva.

On static display, Raytheon will bring a Premier I, King Air 350, Hawker 800XP and another as yet unspecified aircraft. The company is also expected to make a news announcement during the show.

Italy’s Piaggio will be displaying its racy P.180 Avanti twin-pusher business/utility aircraft. The company may also take the opportunity to make an announcement about a planned twinjet development based on the Avanti airframe. Piaggio is also currently evaluating opportunities to make the Avanti available through fractional-ownership programs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ibis Aerospace, a joint venture between Aero Vodochody of the Czech republic and Taiwan’s Aerospace Industries Development Corp., is expected to show its new business/utility Ae270 turboprop single at EBACE 2002. In a corporate shuttle configuration, the aircraft can carry up to 10 people over stage lengths of 1,300 nm, but it can also be supplied with a more comfortable six- or seven-seat cabin.

The Ae270 will offer new competition for the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop single. For the second year running, the Swiss manufacturer will enjoy home-field advantage at the EBACE show.

At press time the only helicopter manufacturer to sign up to exhibit at EBACE was Eurocopter–perhaps hardly surprising given that the event is scheduled barely three months after the latest Helicopter Association International show (held in Orlando, Fla.). Eurocopter will be extolling the virtues of its new EC 145 and EC 225, both of which are due to complete certification this year.

More information about EBACE 2002–including a full list of exhibitors–is available at the show’s Web site (www.ebace.com). Exhibitors and visitors can also contact EBAA convention and seminars manager Darcy Christiansen at +32 2 766 0076 or e-mail info-eu@ebace.com, or her counterpart at NBAA, Kathleen Blouin, at (202) 783-9000 or e-mail info-us@ebace.com.

Once again, AIN will be publishing three on-site editions of Convention News on each day of EBACE. Exhibitors are encouraged to direct editorial information to Charles Alcock, editor of international show issues (telephone +44 1252 727758 or e-mail CAlcockAIN@aol.com).