Postcards from Geneva—EBACE 2017


EBACE 2017 presented attendees with plenty of eye catching airplanes, products and opportunities to visit with vendors in a comfortable, expansive space. For those who had a specific interest in the aircraft parked on the ramp,  idyllic weather was offered up with Geneva enjoying one of the finest weeks this Spring. The Palexpo with its location directly adjacent to the airport allows attendees to visit both booths and a static display in a matter of hours without feeling rushed or that something has been overlooked. One of the interesting additions to this year’s show was the use of a shuttle to transport attendees between the halls and the static which certainly helped with the flow of traffic. Clearly EBAA along with support from NBAA knows how to put on a great show by not overlooking any detail!

The educational and professional development programs continue to expand with sessions offered before, during and after. I was particularly delighted to participate in the Women’s Networking event held the first day of the show where participants had the opportunity to sit among leading aviation professionals and partake of a round-table discussion. Day three turned its attention to education of youth and promotion of STEM. In an industry faced with a shortage of skilled professionals in the not too distant future, promotion of aviation at all ages is key to the business’ future success.

However, noticeably absent were flight crew members in abundance as had been seen in years past. While I would say this is not unique to this year’s show, it seemed to be a topic of discussion in many a booth and chalet. After all while it is a trade show, it is meant to be one that fosters business development not just among the trade. So why does it appear there are fewer actual crew members on the show floor?  The answer to that question would require some indepth polling and information gathering, but on the surface I’ll offer up these reasons for the observation in no particular order of importance:

  • Cost—Expensive hotels to start with transportation and meals not far behind.
  • Lingering effect of economic meltdown
  • Optics—Keeping a low profile both in and out of the company
  • The disappearance of the small, individual flight department in favor of managed aircraft

Or were they just out of uniform? This is not to say that many larger flight departments were not represented, but how many sent multiple key individuals along with a Captain or engineer just for the experience? How many day trippers to Geneva opted to spend the day in the Palexpo as compared to years past?

A trade show is not just about shopping for the latest in technology. It is about building business and continuing to foster relationships. It is also, in a way, a reward for the dedicated aviation employee to attend an important aviation show. It provides for the opportunity to see friends, colleagues, business associates, vendors and business leaders all under one roof. It allows you to share information one on one or in a forum, grow your network and reinforce that feeling you are part of something that is so much bigger than just any one of us.

The Palexpo is a unique venue that serves the purpose to showcase business aviation in Europe extremely well. Geneva offers everything else from postcard pretty pictures, great dining and an easy city to walk around and enjoy. EBACE 2017 is in the record book and the digital postcards are already out reminding you to make plans for the 2018 show!

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