Geneva in May means several things to me…fantastic springtime weather, dinners at La Reserve and on the Lac, business with my long-term associate Stefano Albinati and the annual international gathering of the business jet community for the European Business Aviation Conference and Expo (EBACE). There were no disappointments, with one exception: the weather. However, even though it was freezing and wet outside, it was HAUTE inside the Palexpo and on the adjacent ramp where the world’s finest business jet offerings were on display.
While business aviation conventions have been a staple of the industry for many years in the United States, salons elsewhere dedicated to this sector of the market have come and gone until the advent of this über European show now in its tenth year and held annually at the Palexpo Arena. Geneva creates a business aviation friendly environment and lays out the red carpet for this show. This city knows a cash cow when they see one.
The who’s who of the business aviation world, mostly those based outside of the US, descend on the city for three days of schmoozing and shopping. The relative intimate atmosphere of the Halls of the Palexpo allow one the opportunity to rub shoulders with the next G650 buyer and get face time with key decision makers at all the major manufacturers. Hey, with buyers for new business jets as scarce as hens teeth last year, all you have to do is look like you have a little Moo-la and you are getting served champagne. Coffee and tea are so passé! (As in pass the booth by that is not serving champagne!)
As one who attends trade related expositions on a regular basis, I find the approach that the organizers take to this event both refreshing and charming. It is certainly all business here, but elegantly presented, flavored with regional symbols of a rich heritage, thereby reminding one we are not in Middle America. Come on now, wouldn’t you much rather go to Geneva to order your next airplane, regardless of where it might originate from? The best in airplane deal-making comes out at these events as the manufacturers and vendors alike try to out savior-faire themselves, all the while expertly detailing for the listener the latest innovations in their products and trends within the industry. As a purveyor of select business aircraft, I am here to learn and EBACE does not disappoint. As a buyer, the chance to sit and experience every new make and model is priceless–if only measured in the time one saves.
So if some future month of May finds you in Europe add EBACE to the must attend list. It fits nicely between Cannes and Monaco!