NBAA: Business Jet Heaven

WICHITA -- Three local planemakers have big plans for the coming week at the National Business Aviation Association convention.

A record number of exhibitors have signed up for this week's National Business Aviation Association's 58th annual meeting and convention. The convention opens Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. But a full slate of news conferences by business aviation companies begin Tuesday, where they will give product updates or announce new products and services.

The show is important for Wichita's general aviation industry. Last year, Wichita's three business jetmakers delivered more than 40 percent of the world's business jets.

The show is a good time to meet customers and to show off the latest in products and services.

With the upturn in the economy and business jet orders, general aviation manufacturers are feeling good about this year's convention.

"I think it's going to be a great show," said Raytheon Aircraft chief executive Jim Schuster.

This year's convention was originally planned for New Orleans. But the trade group moved it to Orlando after Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area on Aug. 29.

This year, 1,113 exhibitors have registered for the show with 110 aircraft on static display. The number of attendees who have preregistered is up 5 percent from a year ago, NBAA spokesman Dan Hubbard said last week.

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