Wichita aviation ready for NBAA '10

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Oct. 18--Wichita planemakers plan to make news and show off their products this week at the 63rd annual National Business Aviation Association convention.

Nearly 30 Kansas companies will have exhibits at the show in Atlanta, and hundreds of Wichita aviation industry officials will be in attendance.

The show, the fourth-largest trade show in the U.S., runs Tuesday through Thursday.

Hawker Beechcraft said it will have the largest exhibit in its history at the static display at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport -- a 36,000-square-foot display that will house its entire line of business aircraft under one roof.

"We've created an environment that's very conducive to both existing customer conversations as well as prospective customer conversations," said executive vice president Shawn Vick.

It will be a good place to conduct business, Vick said.

An indoor exhibit at the Georgia World Congress Center will feature its customer support organization.

Hawker Beechcraft will announce product advancements and new additions to its family of aircraft, the company said.

Cessna Aircraft is planning what it called a major announcement on Monday, the day before the show opens, but it is keeping mum on the details until then.

After a hiatus last year, Cessna plans to display inside the exhibit hall, although its space will be smaller than previous years.

Cessna also will host a special event Tuesday at its static display at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.

Bombardier Aerospace will reveal details of a just-launched expanded Global aircraft family. The event will be held Monday evening at the static display.

Some expect the plane to be a competitor to Gulfstream's G650 large aircraft.

Bombardier also will update other programs, such as its Learjet 85 program in Wichita.

This year's show has attracted 1,063 exhibitors taking up 4,000 booth spaces.

The static display is sold out and has a waiting list, with 90 aircraft to be on display at the airport.

Organizers expect 25,000 people to attend, up slightly from attendance last year.

The convention will offer about 100 educational sessions and maintenance and operation seminars.

The show is the world's largest business aviation convention.

"It's a great place for customers to see our products compared to everybody else's products and to touch and feel (them)," said Bombardier spokeswoman Haley Dunne.

It gives companies a chance to meet with their suppliers and with members of the media and "to let customers know we are here and we're bringing things to market," Dunne said.

Vick, from Hawker Beechcraft, said most of the show's attendees are from North America, and the North American market is quiet.

Rather than attending to make a purchase and execute a contract, "I think more people are coming to the show to talk about their plans for acquisition in the next 24 to 48 months," Vick said.

No doubt a few certainly will attend as part of their final decision-making process, Vick said. "And we'll win our fair share of those when they're available."

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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