Event organizers pointed to positive signs, including 12,751 Attendees from 108 countries, an increase from last year's 11,186, and a record 511 Exhibitors, exceeding the previous high mark of 445 companies. This year's attendance was the second-highest total ever. Brian Humphries, European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) president and CEO, and Ed Bolen, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president and CEO, were pleased at the global support for business aviation.
"These numbers are certainly good news for EBACE," said Humphries. "They're a welcome reminder of the value the industry places on this show. But we also know that EBACE is a barometer for the industry, and so we take these numbers as a welcome sign that the economic environment for business aviation is beginning to improve."
Humphries added that Eurocontrol has just released 2010 figures showing that business aviation achieved 5.5 percent growth last year, and is more than 7 percent of IFR traffic, which points to the importance of business aviation in helping companies recover from the recent downturn.
Bolen agreed, saying "the importance of business aviation to helping companies of all sizes succeed in a competitive global economy is certainly on display for everyone who takes part in EBACE, which demonstrates that business aviation is highly valued by enterprises around the world.
"The many contributions business aviation makes to the success of European Union economies, just like the United States, however, still need to be communicated effectively," Bolen added, "so that it is well understood by policymakers whose decisions can have a direct impact on our industry."
Bolen also congratulated NBAA's partner, the European Business Aviation Association, on another highly successful annual gathering.
Halls 5, 6 and 7 of Geneva Palexpo sold out 2,074 exhibit spaces, more than the previous record of 1,922, and 62 aircraft were shown on the Static Display of Aircraft at Geneva International Airport.
In addition to the value EBACE provided for Exhibitors and Attendees, the event celebrated 11 years of partnership between EBAA and NBAA in hosting the event. It also showcased the essential role of business aviation in supporting jobs, mobility and economic opportunity around the world.
Education sessions, the backbone of EBACE programming, covered a variety of international and local aviation issues. Panels of industry experts discussed steps their business aviation communities are taking to meet their environmental stewardship goals, among other updates on a variety of policy issues affecting business aviation. Additional sessions covered operational safety, and the latest upgrades to aircraft and technology.
Next year's EBACE will return to the Geneva Palexpo from May 14 through 16. EBAA and NBAA have secured dates for EBACE through 2015. Learn more at www.ebace.aeero.