The 2018 edition of ABACE is set to wrap up today following a busy three days marked by thousands of visitors from dozens of countries, an array of displays that showcased an increasing number of Asian vendors, and an optimistic mood that the industry is maturing and poised for continued growth in China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
Ed Bolen, president and CEO of ABACE co-host NBAA, said the feedback from exhibitors and attendees has been that this show “certainly met and exceeded their high expectations.” The crowds have been strong, he said, and from the exhibitors standpoint, so too has been business at ABACE. “The sense is that that has been a successful event and it is a market that has momentum,” he said.
This year’s ABACE also highlighted the maturation of the market in China with more industry-savvy buyers and visitors attending, and an evolution on the exhibit floor that includes a number of startups from the region.
In all 170 exhibitors displayed their wares at the show and 30 aircraft have been on static display. The aircraft illustrate the breadth of the industry, from pistons and utility turboprops to the spectrum of business jets. Among those on display have been five helicopters.
The general opening session also provided a boost to the show, underscoring that the Shanghai Airport Authority, the local municipality, and the CAAC are all focused on this industry, Bolen added. He stressed that the CAAC Business Aviation Development Forum, held on Tuesday, has become a “really important tradition,” fostering a dialog with government officials about the future of the industry.
Bolen noted that this is particularly important because of ABACE’s role in education and in building relationships that will help this industry to flourish.
Another key feature is ABACE co-host AsBAA’s Student Chapter Day that provides a forum to discuss career paths and opportunities for the future. As the industry grows in China, it has started to feel the pinch of a limited number of pilots and maintenance technicians. The AsBAA event is designed to play a role in helping to stimulate interest in careers. This year the careers day was anticipated to host 200 students.
The show configuration changed this year thanks to the new Shanghai Hawker Pacific hangar, meaning two hangars for exhibits, along with the pavilion, and nearly a dozen chalets. A number of aircraft had their ABACE debut this year, including Gulfstream’s G500 and G600, recently China-validated Cessna Citation Latitude, and the Quest Kodiak.
Attendees were able to get hands-on glimpses of the latest avionics and obtain an overview of all their interior options.
Various signings took place at the show for new business and partnerships, plus a world-class piano entertained from beside a Boeing Business Jet.
This year’s event not only shows the growing relevance of the industry, but provides momentum for next year’s ABACE, scheduled for April 16-18.