This year’s NBAA annual convention was bigger and better than last year’s, not because there were more attendees and exhibitors at the recent Las Vegas show, but because there was a significantly higher number of attendees from outside the U.S. According to NBAA figures, international registration climbed by 23 percent over last year’s show, and nearly 4,000 people from 88 countries traveled to Las Vegas to participate in the annual bizav-fest.
The rapidly growing business aviation fleet in China, while still small by any standard, generated significant interest at the show. And while it’s normal to have interpreters at press conferences at shows outside the U.S., the presence of one at the Dassault Falcon press conference to announce a major order by Minsheng Financial Leasing underscored the importance that Chinese attendees and companies attach to the annual NBAA event. Minsheng had two big announcements at the NBAA show, the purchase of 13 Embraer Legacy 650s (part of which was announced as a memorandum of understanding for 20 aircraft in July) and a MoU for 10 Falcon 7Xs and 10 Falcon 2000S models, announced at the Dassault Falcon press event. A signing ceremony for the MoU was conducted in Chinese and English by Kong Linshan, chairman of the board of Minsheng, and Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne. A China operations panel session on the afternoon of the show’s first day overflowed with a standing-room-only crowd.
China wasn’t the only Asian country making NBAA news; the announcement that Narita Airport is opening an FBO next year signals growing recognition of the importance of business aviation in that country. Officials from Nagoya Airport also exhibited at the NBAA show, highlighting the facility’s convenience as a gateway to Japan and also the fact that there are no radiation effects in Aichi Prefecture, where Nagoya Airport is located, from the April tsunami and Fukushima nuclear power-plant disaster.
“Business aviation is inherently international and more so every day,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, “and it’s only to be expected that we would see an increase in the international feel of the annual meeting and convention. The reality is that for a lot of U.S. companies, large and small, we are all operating in a global marketplace and the need for face-to-face communication transcends country boundaries and cultures.”