NBAA Attendees Down, but Quality Up

 - October 22, 2009, 9:33 AM

The total attendance as of late yesterday for the NBAA Convention this week was 22,516, which makes it appear total attendance for the entire three-day event in Orlando, Fla., will not come close to the 30,811 for NBAA 2008. The tally of 1,075 exhibitors at this year’s convention is down 9 percent from last year. Perhaps it’s fairer to compare 2009 to 2002, which broke all previous records at the time with 27,785 attendees and 1,011 exhibitors. Many exhibitors this year expressed disappointment with the total numbers, but noted that it had its advantages. As Million Air CEO Roger Woolsey put it, “In the past, working one of these shows was a little like ‘speed dating.’ This year, we have more time to spend with serious customers.” Martina Wellman of customer relations at Sky Harbour agreed, looking at the positive side of a negative economy. “It seems to have weeded out the tire-kickers,” she said, referring to the number of individuals who come to the show with no specific goal.