Thank you.

I can now breath a sigh of relief.Having endured aviation trade shows over the last few months that have lacked the excitement and growth of previous years, I was nervous as to what to expect from the recently held AS3/GSE Expo show in Las Vegas. After all, our sister division, Cygnus Expositions, was the central force behind the operations of this co-located trade show.

My worries proved to be unfounded. With a massive amount of promotion, the proper mixture of timely seminar topics and interesting speakers, and a trade show floor that had leaders from an array of product and service categories, the industry responded positively with nearly 5,000 attendees.

For the first time ever we brought together the members and segments served by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), and the ground support community. Each of the two trade associations held its annual meetings and seminars in conjunction with this trade show. The results were extremely positive.

Apparently, the level of success is not predicated on the general economic state of affairs, or to the specific health of the aviation industry. More importantly, success is derived from creating value — the type of value obtained by bringing together the right mixture of buyers and sellers. This mixture is only enhanced when you have the support and active involvement of the trade associations that serve these sectors.

The landscape is littered with peril. There are examples of shows that have tried to bring together separate parts of the aviation industry and have failed. Why? Probably because there was no core synergy. The parts that were brought together didn’t cross over from one sector to another, nor did they have the involvement of the trade associations that serve the market.

To date, the feedback from the groups participating in AS3/GSE Expo supports the concept of having a more comprehensive business-to-business aviation event held in the same city at the same time. It was discovered, for instance, that fixed base operators not only had an interest in visiting with the traditional AS3 exhibitors, but also had needs in the ground support market. The synergies and cost savings that resulted from having one show instead of two or three hit home in Las Vegas. It would seem this is true for both delegates and exhibitors.

I thank the visionaries of NATA, PAMA, and the GSE community who shared our dream and worked to make it a reality.

We’re off to a great start.

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A final word: Mark your calendars for May 18-20 for the 2004 AS3/ GSE Expo, again in Las Vegas.