Ebace 2010 Preview

 - March 30, 2010, 8:56 AM

This year’s European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (Ebace, May 4 to 6) will open with the market still, at best, in slow recovery mode, but there is no denying the exceptional progress Europe’s business aviation sector has made since the first Ebace opened to mixed expectations in 2001.

At the inaugural event, there were barely 2,000 business aircraft in Europe. Today there are around twice that number, and Ebace has made a significant contribution to raising the profile of this mode of transportation throughout the continent.

Most exhibitors polled informally by AIN seem to be approaching this year’s Ebace with cautious optimism. For the most part, trading conditions have stopped deteriorating after a cash-strapped 2009, but demand is taking time to bounce back.

Nonetheless, organizers say that exhibitor bookings, as of mid-March, were within 5 percent of the equivalent period in 2009. At last year’s show, the number of exhibitors held steady at 441 and the exhibit space occupied was much the same as in 2008. At press time, the number of confirmed exhibitors stood at more than 360, with organizers confident of exceeding 400.

But in 2009, attendee numbers (10,917) were down 20 percent on the 13,692 recorded in 2008–perhaps no surprise given the job cuts the industry endured and the urgent need for companies to reduce expenses. Looking to this year’s event, show organizers say that advanced hotel bookings are up again on 2009, suggesting that the numbers could bounce back.

More tangible evidence of the current state of business aviation in Europe will come from air traffic management agency Eurocontrol, which is set to issue an updated report on traffic figures during the show. Most industry observers reported a marked downturn in traffic last year, but there have been recent indications of a shallow recovery.

As of press time, there was little information about the aircraft to be displayed in Geneva this year. However, Cessna hopes to give an international debut to its twin ottertwintwin ottertwtwintt. All the main business aircraft manufacturers are committed to exhibiting, and more than 60 aircraft are already booked to appear.

Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft are set to have the largest contingents on the static display, with 10 aircraft each. Bombardier will have seven on display, including a mock-up of the under-development Learjet 85. Embraer will display five aircraft, including a mock-up of the new Legacy 500. Gulfstream, which will certainly have eagerly anticipated news of its new G650 and G250, will also display four current types, namely the G550, G450, G200 and G100. Other novelties will include a mock-up of Diamond’s D-Jet and Viking Air’s new reworking of the Twin Otter.

On the eve of this year’s show, Bombardier will host its fourth European Safety Standdown event in Geneva. On the same day, Ebace will feature a new International Aircraft Transaction Conference.

Also in the preamble to the main event will be a two-day workshop on the International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). This will be presented by Kathy Perfetti of the International Business Aviation Council, which has led the initiative as a way of offering the industry and regulators a set of standards that are specific to this type of operation, rather than being based entirely on airline procedures.

The main Ebace conference agenda will focus on topics that are already looming large in the daily lives of Europe’s business aviation community such as the need to participate in the emissions trading scheme, which from January 2012 will require operators to buy credits to cover the carbon dioxide they emit from their aircraft engines.

Once again, Ebace has attracted top officials from key regulators such as the European Commission (EC), the European Parliament, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol. Among the high-level figures scheduled to speak are EC president Jose Manuel Barrosso, Jorg Leichtfried from the European Parliament’s transport and tourism committee and Philip Owen from the EC’s environment directorate general.

Another contentious issue is the proposed new rule on flight time limitations for aircrew. Key contributors to this debate will be EASA executive director Patrick Goudou and aviation medicine expert Dr. Mark Rosekind, who has recently been nominated to join the Safety Board.

Many European operators still resent restrictions on their ability to fly into the U.S. Ebace will feature a session on transatlantic access issues that will include officials from the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Transportation and Customs and Border Protection.

The European Business Aviation Association, which runs Ebace in partnership with NBAA, is due to issue new guidelines for emergency response planning during the event.

More information about this year’s Ebace can be found at www.ebace.aero.

Call for Award Nominations
Nominations have opened for the 2010 European Business Aviation Award, which is to be presented during May’s European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (Ebace), organized by the European Business Aviation Association and U.S. NBAA The award is intended to honor individuals and/or companies who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of business aviation in Europe, and is presented each year to one or more individuals.   

The Ebace award committee will review and select award recipients based on nominations that must include:
• A letter introducing the nominee and explaining why he or she is proposed for the award. This document serves as the nominator’s letter of reference. Additional letters of reference from individuals other than the nominator are optional, and may assist the award committee in reaching a judgment.
• The nominee’s professional biography and/or résumé describing the nominee’s education, employment, accomplishments and honors.
• Any relevant supporting documents, including newspaper clippings, publications and articles related to the nomination.

Nominations for the 2010 award are due by April 12 to the following address and contact information: Romain Martin, Ebace European Office, Avenue de Tervuren 13a  Box 5, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. Tel: 32 2 766 0073 Fax: 32 2 768 1325 E-mail: info-eu@ebace.aero. More information can be found at www.ebaa.org.