They came to Geneva hoping to go home in a better mood, and many of them will, based on the uplifting experience EBACE delegates are having at this year’s show. After a couple of years in which the prevailing vibe at the bizav clan’s annual gathering has been one of mutual commiseration, EBACE 2011 has seen tangible evidence of recovery.
Nine-digit jet deals are back in fashion, thanks to the likes of VistaJet and Comlux. The contracts they signed this week largely validated the commonly held view that demand for larger models is firmer than at the light end. But there have also been a smattering of deals involving smaller aircraft, too, suggesting that the lifeblood of new orders may once again be reaching bizav’s extremities.
At a show where manufacturers once fell over each other in the scramble to announce new aircraft, Dassault threw down a new gauntlet to the super-midsized sector by unveiling plans for the new Falcon 2000S. It is a jet very much of its time, being consciously designed with an economic price tag and judiciously pared-back performance.
As usual, there has been innovation aplenty on the show floor with a wealth of new cockpit technology to enhance safety and efficiency, and yet more elegance at the client end of the aircraft in the cabin. Meanwhile, exhibitors–drawn from an increasingly wide radius now spanning the Middle East, Africa and Asia–have been feverishly forging new alliances with each other, providing further proof that opportunity is once again out there to be grasped by the bold and the resourceful.
Plenty then to inspire and encourage the 12,673 registered visitors logged as of close of business last night. That’s an impressive footfall that takes us back to the glory years of this great show, around the middle of the last decade, and yet now the EBACE crowd seems so much wiser for all it has endured these past few years. Here’s hoping that come EBACE 2012, they will be wiser still, and also wealthier.