“There has been an enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm here in Shanghai at ABACE, despite the change in weather from sunny skies on the opening day to rain yesterday,” National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president and CEO Ed Bolen told AIN as he summed up the show so far.
According to NBAA and show co-organizer Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA), ABACE 2014 already has attracted a record-breaking 187 exhibitors and 38 static-display aircraft. And Bolen expects the number of attendees this year to top the 7,714 people that came through the doors during ABACE 2013.
He said that attendees are pleased with the “broad spectrum” of aircraft on display this year at ABACE, a mix that includes piston, turboprop and jet airplanes as well as helicopters. Meanwhile, “Exhibitors–all the way from the large aircraft manufacturers to the smaller companies–are constantly telling us they are happy about the quality and quantity of attendees at the show,” Bolen noted. “We are pleased that ABACE is meeting or exceeding expectations.”
In addition, he said, “ABACE truly is an Asian business aviation event.” This is reflected by the growing number of exhibitors across Asia–73 this year versus 38 during the first revamped-format ABACE in 2012–and the fact that the number-two official from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, Senior Deputy Director General Masaaki Kai, spoke at the opening session on Tuesday morning.
The show’s location here at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, a venue extended until at least 2021 on Monday, is also widely viewed by attendees and exhibitors as an Asian, not just Chinese, venue, said Bolen. “Shanghai is an Asian financial and business hub–it is truly an international city. And the agreement signed on Tuesday to keep ABACE here for at least the next seven shows reiterates this fact,” he said. “Further, Shanghai is a free trade zone. It just seems like the right spot to us.”
Bolen also emphasized that ABACE is much more than an annual three-day business aviation show. “We are focused year-round on working with governments throughout Asia to expand business aviation,” he said. “Additionally, we work through the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC) to achieve this,” noting the approval by APEC transportation ministers in September of a core statement of principles that lay the foundation for business aviation’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Looking toward the next edition of ABACE, which will be held April 14 to 16, 2015, the NBAA leader is optimistic that the show will continue to grow in both importance and size. “We are already hearing from exhibitors that ABACE becomes bigger and better every year and that they want to continue to be a part of it,” Bolen told AIN. “It is picking up more momentum each year, which is reflected in feedback that we’ve received.
“And we’re committed to constantly looking to enhance the experience for attendees and exhibitors to keep it that way,” concluded Bolen.