Euro business aviation facing profound changes

 - November 28, 2006, 5:19 AM

This morning’s EBACE 2006 Opening General Session, starting at 10:30 in Ballroom B, promises to provide important “need to know” information about the state of European business aviation, according to Brian Humphries, EBAA chief executive, and Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the U.S. National Business Aviation Association and moderator of the session.

Following a period of stagnation in the 1990s, business aviation in Europe is growing fast, said Humphries. However, changes to the infrastructure of European aviation, brought on by the start of the Single European Sky definition phase, the creation of the European Aviation Safety Agency and security and environmental pressures, will likely have profound effects on the industry.

At the opening general session, Humphries said, Bo Redeborn, Eurocontrol director of Air Traffic Management Studies, will address the growth of European business aviation by providing the basic “findings of Eurocontol’s just completed, but not yet published, study of business aviation activity in the European sky.” More details about this report will be covered later today in the session, “Eurocontrol’s Study on Business Aviation Traffic and Future Technology Requirements,” scheduled at 4 p.m. in Meeting Room D.

Two other guest speakers held in high regard by the industry–Sir Ralph Robins and Ed Stimpson–will discuss how changes in the infrastructure will affect business aviation, said Bolen. Robins, well known as the former CEO of Rolls-Royce, is now chairman of Freestream Aircraft of London, which specializes in the brokerage and acquisition of business aircraft. Stimpson is chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation. He was previously the U.S. Ambassador to the Council of ICAO and before that he was president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in the U.S. for 25 years.

With more than 9,000 attendees expected to pass through Palexpo’s doors over the next three days, a 20-percent increase over last year’s 7,500 attendees, and all the exhibit space in the Hall 6 (40-percent larger than last year’s Hall 7) sold out to some 300 exhibitors, Humphries and Bolen enthusiastically predicted this year’s event will be “the best EBACE ever.”

Humphries also noted that the aircraft static display will feature more than 50 aircraft, including most of the business aviation models currently being manufactured, plus four helicopters, on the plaza on the south side of Hall 6 and a few inside the hall.