One of Europe’s largest business aircraft operator/managers, Luxaviation, is pulling out of EBACE, Europe’s main event in business aviation, saying that Geneva is too expensive and that the event could be moved to another city.
In a letter addressed to EBAA CEO Athar Husain Khan, Luxaviation CEO Patrick Hansen said Luxaviation would not participate in next year’s event in May 2019. EBAA co-organizes EBACE with the U.S. NBAA.
“I can assure you that for operators, handlers, and maintenance organizations and I assume even for OEMs, it has become very expensive to participate in and exhibit at,” said Hansen. “One particularly big problem for EBACE is its location in Geneva. Exhibiting at events in Geneva is far more expensive than exhibiting at business shows elsewhere in Europe.” He suggested “moving EBACE to a less expensive city than Geneva.”
EBACE can “easily cost businesses hundreds of thousands of euros,” Hansen said, with the cost of exhibition space also increasing again for 2019. He called on EBAA to “use its resources, financial and operational, to support the business aviation industry in Europe and not to organize events that might be financially profitable for the EBAA but have counterproductive effects on the industry it serves.”
“The time has come for EBACE to change,” concluded Hansen. “I certainly hope that more people would share their similar views with you and that this open letter could thus bring change to a passionate and value-creating niche.”
NBAA and EBAA responded in a joint letter that offered to meet face-to-face to further discuss Luxaviation’s concerns and stressed that organizers always encourage a continuing dialog with all exhibitors about meeting their needs and expectations for EBACE, said Dan Hubbard, senior v-p of communications for NBAA.
The letter, he said, also offered empirical data about the event’s value based on the most recent annual independent surveys conducted of exhibitors and attendees. “We reported that in those surveys the respondents ranked the show as excellent in terms of value,” Hubbard said, adding, “In all, while we are pleased that the response to 2018 was very good, we are equally pleased that we are seeing robust registration by exhibitors for EBACE 2019. We believe that’s in part because of the value offered by this year’s show.”
Show organizers further have an ongoing dialog not only with exhibitors, but also with Geneva Airport, Palexpo, and city officials to discuss feedback received, he further said. “It appears that in many ways those stakeholders are working to be responsive to our guidance.”