Despite the doom and gloom wrought by aviation's "perfect storm" caused by bankruptcies, war, and SARS; a total of 4,960 people came together in Las Vegas, Nevada May 13-15, 2003 to be a part of the inaugural co-location of AS3 - Aviation Services & Suppliers Supershow and GSE International Expo.
Cygnus Business Media, parent company of Ground Support Magazine, Airport Business, Aircraft Maintenance Technology, and Cygnus Expositions acquired AS3, the Aviation Services and Suppliers Super Show from The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and The Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) in August 2002. Both associations have remained as sponsors and advisors to the event and their presence provided additional perspective, as well as unique networking and educational opportunities, helping to make the show a complete event.
Informative seminars and training sessions as well as over 400 leading manufacturers exhibiting on 90,000 net square feet of exhibit space featuring the latest in ground support equipment, services and solutions, aircraft interiors and accessories, maintenance parts and supplies, fueling, training and avionics. With complimentary responses from attendees and exhibitors alike, the show's success has already generated an exhibit floor that is nearly 50-percent sold out for the 2004 event. "We are extremely pleased with the level of participation and support for the first time co-location of AS3/GSE International Expo," says Jill Hilgenberg, Show Director. "It's no secret that the aviation industry has been weathering some turbulent times over the last couple of years, but this event has provided a positive outlook on the recovery of the aviation industry."
Former GSE Today Editorial Director, George Prill, kept in step with the military personnel during the show and files this report regarding an "Exhibitor Only" briefing from the United States Air Force.
The men and women who manage the procurement and logistics of ground equipment for the U.S. Air Force do not think of themselves as heroes, but they are aware of the importance of their role in war fighting and other military operations. Marianne Deuster, who heads the Ground Support and Vehicle Management Division of the U.S. Air Force Air Logistic Command (ALC) based at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, began her briefing for the GSE Expo exhibitors with the "No Air Power Without Ground Power" motto that focuses the logisticians on the essential role they are playing in the war on terror.
Ms. Deuster headed a large contingent of Air Force personnel and also chaired the meeting of the Department of Defense Joint Panel of Aviation Support Equipment held at GSE Expo. The Panel is responsible for coordinating the procurement of support equipment for the Air Force, Navy, Army, Defense Logistics Agency and the Coast Guard. It has been effective in synchronizing procurements and reducing costs.
Ms. Deuster emphasized her mission statement "Know our customers, understand their needs and expectations, and provide the highest level of Aerospace Equipment and Vehicles Logistics Support possible." Fulfilling this mission has been a hard job. To ensure that their customers, i.e. the warfighters, are getting what is needed, they meet regularly with Working Advisory Groups and Product Improvement Working Groups. The members of these teams, the operators of the equipment keep the logisticians informed of real needs and of problems with present equipment. While military specifications sometimes seem extreme, conditions such as those encountered in Iraq call for equipment that can be operated in very tough environments. Yet, the Air Force wants to use commercial equipment as much as possible. The warfighters in Iraq and in the other U.S. military operations around the world require lots of equipment and they require it now. Ms. Deuster outlined some of the problems that her organization has faced and she thanked suppliers and manufacturers who stepped up to meet the challenge.