The Business Airport and Business Jet Interiors World Expos were held concurrently (February 22 and 23) in Cannes, in the south of France, to somewhat mixed reviews, although attendance numbers were healthy and a substantial number of exhibitors signed up for next year’s event, even before the show closed.
Graham Johnson, managing director for organizer UKIP Media Events, expressed satisfaction with drawing 2,236 attendees from 50 countries, noting that the entrance fee gave visitors access to both the interiors and airport shows, as well as the conference presentations.
Johnson also pointed out that there were a total of 137 exhibitors at the business airport expo and another 42 at the business jet interiors show. Midway through this year’s event, he added, more than 50 percent had already signed on for next year’s show, to be held from March 19 to 21 at Farnborough Airport in the UK. “I’ve booked almost twice the floor space for 2013 and I’m expecting about 170 exhibitors,” he said.
UKIP expects the business airport expo to draw a majority of exhibitors at next year’s event, “while business jet interiors will remain a boutique show with 60 to 65 exhibitors. This is all about a gathering of the best of the best, with a certain cachet of exclusivity.”
Some exhibitors expressed disappointment with the lack of buyers attending the show. As one completion center executive put it, “Looking at it from the bottom line, I’d find it difficult to justify to anyone in sales.” His company will not exhibit next year, he added.
As a networking event, the show seems to have garnered broad praise. “I have to agree that there haven’t been a lot of customers [but] this isn’t bad at all as it did provide the opportunity to exchange experience within the industry among different organizations,” said Stratajet research analyst Stefanie Siebold.
A number of other attendees expressed satisfaction with the show as a networking forum, among them Sylvain Mariat, head of creative design at Airbus Corporate Jet Center (ACJC) in Toulouse. “This first edition allowed me to keep contact with certain suppliers [and] to establish new contacts, in particular with design firm BBDC, [an exhibitor] which is from the same school of design as I and which specializes in the development of VIP helicopters.”
Caroline Lancien, marketing manager at ACJC, was particularly taken by the conferences, for some of which every seat was taken. “Judging by the attendance, those on interior design seemed to be the most appreciated,” she recalled.
The conference, consisting of 26 lectures, ranged in subject matter from designing for the Chinese market by Jean-Pierre Alfano from Air Jet Designs, to business aviation catering by Daniel Hulme of Alison Price On Air, to noise-reduction measures by Bernard Weiss of Hubbard Aviation Technologies.
Particularly timely was a discussion of slot allocation during the upcoming London Olympic Games this year. Lee Campbell, managing director for Airport Coordination, told his audience that as of late February there had already been approximately 2,000 slot bookings, and that the total slot bookings during the games (July 21 to August 12) are expected to surpass 10,000.While this year’s concurrent event in Cannes drew primarily from the region, said Johnson, “Considering that London Farnborough proved so popular in 2011, I’m pretty confident that we’ll attract even more exhibitors and visitors next year. In other words, this isn’t just a regional event.”
“We were happy with the show,” said Anne-Sophie Catherineau, director of Bordeaux-based Catherineau, a major supplier of interior cabinetry. “Now we will see in one or two months if the contacts we made turn into contracts.”