‘Solid Turnout’ at NBAA 2008 Despite Woes

 - October 9, 2008, 11:24 AM

The NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., which concluded yesterday, attracted 30,811 attendees, just shy of the 30,963 people at the event last year in Atlanta. It was a “solid turnout” given all the circumstances, in the opinion of association president and CEO Ed Bolen. “This year's show comes amid spikes in the cost of fuel, tightening credit markets and a challenging economy. Business aviation has been impacted by adverse economic trends like every other industry, so we're pleased that our convention continues to offer a valuable marketing and networking opportunity.” By the numbers, there were about 1,100 exhibiting companies at the Orange County Convention Center and a record-breaking 139 business aircraft on static display at Orlando Executive Airport. Overall, the tone at the show was “subdued,” reported UBS business jet industry analyst David Strauss. “Manufacturers continued to profess confidence in their backlogs, with very few cancellations thus far, [but] aircraft brokers we spoke with said international demand has slowed considerably, with very little activity out of Russia, although the Middle East is still active,” he said. “Outside of the manufacturers, most we spoke with estimate that 10 to 25 percent of the backlog is at risk to go away and potentially more if lenders really pull back from the market.” However, he said, money is available for companies and individuals that offer an appealing credit risk and the deal terms are better for lenders today because fewer players are chasing business in the current environment.