BUSINESS AVIATION’S ANNUAL CONVENTION IS POSITIVE HARBINGER TO STRONG FUTURE OF THIS SEGMENT

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ARTICLE: NBAA Wraps Up a Highly Successful 2012 Convention

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In the midst of a hundred year storm and a Presidential visit (read TFR restrictions) to Orlando, NBAA pulls off a very successful annual meeting—

  • 25,150 people from all 50 states and 87 countries,
  • 1,073 exhibitors,
  • booth spaces totaled 4,361, an increase over last year’s booth-space total,
  • 105 aircraft were shown on two separate static displays, and an additional four aircraft were shown inside the convention center,
  • Substantive education sessions every day, each well attended and with attentive audiences covering emerging trends, including the use of iPads in aircraft cockpits, and developments related to business aviation in Asia,
  • A convention-long Light Business Airplane Conference, with sessions focused on matters of interest to entrepreneurs and companies using light business airplanes,
  • The most recent in a series of studies by NEXA was presented; that analysis found more companies began using business aviation during the “Great Recession” than did so beforehand, and most importantly the business aircraft companies fared better than similar companies that did not have these impactful business tools with wings,
  • A new series of advertisements were unveiled – and well received by the convention attendees; the copy showcased real-world accounts of people in the business aviation community to demonstrate its size, diversity and importance,
  • The convention was an opportunity for the Members to be reinvigorated on the Association’s advocacy efforts through briefings and materials, and
  • As noted here before, the Annual Convention is also a venue for a most worthwhile fundraising event for the Corporate Aviation network and the good news is that they raised $371,000 to support its mission to provide transport for cancer patients to treatment centers aboard business aircraft.

In addition to all of these achievements, this annual event is a good thermometer of how Business Aviation is doing. Robust attendance under difficult circumstances is a plus, but the very strong exhibitor numbers (companies with booths, spaces occupied and aircraft exhibited) are most encouraging. The exhibitors – airframe and powerplant manufacturers, repair stations, FBOs and a surprising panoply of service providers – pay substantial reservation fees well in advance of the Convention based on their economic forecasts and sales intelligence that their marketing targets are ready to spend.

The NBAA event is one of a number of aviation trade association exhibitions, but it is notable that its convention floor is populated with individuals with credit cards, i.e. purchases are made there. Other similar events are places at which leads are identified and sales are made after RFP processes and corporate purchasing department reviews. This distinction means that the exhibitors base their acquisition of floor space on the prospects of sales there and prospects with purchasing decision power.

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