The 2007 Aviation Industry Expo: Alive and Thriving in a New Venue

May 10, 2007
The 2007 Aviation Industry Expo’s seminars, meetings and awards in review.

From the new products introduced to the educational seminars, the 2007 Aviation Industry Expo had something to offer everyone in attendance. At its new venue in Orlando, Fla., visitors and exhibitors traveled from around the world to participate in the industry’s largest show.

Notable guests
This year’s expo played host to several notable guests and their annual meetings including NATA, PAMA and the ASC. Productive and educational meetings were held throughout the three-day show, many of which experienced overwhelming attendance. The Disney Institute-hosted seminar entitled “Leadership Begins with World Class Service” was one of the most sought after lectures. At the standing-room-only presentation, attendees learned helpful hints for effective leadership, marketing, and customer service. Through charismatic speakers and interactive discussion, the presenters cited leadership requirements such as commitment and responsibility as necessary for creating a collaborative culture among employees. The presenters cited commitment and responsibility as characteristics which will lead to quality customer service and create positive financial results. The team also discussed the importance of simplicity in regards to running a successful business and holding a productive meeting. Attendees of the Disney Institute presentation referenced a natural flow which made the session move along quickly, effectively delivering their message in a worthwhile and unique presentation.

Crucial discussions
The Aviation Security Council (ASC) held discussions at AIE prompted by the Orlando security breech, in which a baggage handler allegedly used his airport credentials to smuggle more than a dozen firearms onto a commercial jet. The council took the opportunity to discuss ramp security measures and employee screening practices. The group discussed the pros and cons to screening each employee everyday as they arrive at work and also analyzed access points and how to best monitor the activities at each. The ASC decided to reconvene in Washington D.C. to further discuss a formal set of security recommendations.

The topic of cargo security costs to the carriers was also a hot topic at the meeting. Carriers are paying millions of dollars in added security measures and require federal compensation in order to remain profitable.

The interactive element
Another exciting aspect of AIE this year was the video element introduced by Cygnus’ interactive team. For the first time ever, exhibitors had the opportunity to participate in a short interview segment with the editors of Ground Support Worldwide, Aircraft Maintenance Technology, and Airport Business magazines. Many new products were featured and exciting events were captured.

On the second day of the expo, Lektro sold its 3,000th tug to American Eagle. Members of the Cygnus Transportation Video Network were on hand to record the event live. According to interactive managers at Cygnus, the video element is one with great potential for growth.

“The Transportation Video Network is a success story in the making for us,” says Omid Johanbin, creative director for Cygnus Business Media. “We are bringing the power of moving images and sound to the online space and eliminating the costly technological barriers in the process. The impact on a company’s brand and the way we deliver news has been and continues to be tremendous.

“Our editorial and publishing groups have been very excited about reaching new areas with this technology. Next year, we should look to bigger and better developments with this product.”

A leader among us
AIE was a time to learn and also a time to recognize leaders within the GSE industry. At the Ground Support Leader of the Year luncheon, Greg Nist, fleet manager for US Airways, was honored by his peers when he was named the 2007 award winner. Nist, who endured an entertaining roast by friend Norm Kosciusko of FMC Technologies, was a good sport. Upon receiving the award, Nist said he was “speechless” and thanked his friends and associates for the honor. Nist began his career shortly after graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in 1970 as a technology/aerospace maintenance technician licensed as an airframe and power plant mechanic. In 1969, Nist worked at Tasa Airport and Condor Aero Club where he maintained hangars, runways and taxiways, airport lighting systems as well as a fleet of aircraft. After his stint with Tasa and Condor, he moved on to Allegheny Airlines where he serviced and cleaned aircraft and also served as a mechanic. When his tenure at Allegheny had come to an end, Nist began his 35-year career with US Airways where he has climbed the corporate ladder to his current position as GSE fleet manager.

Bigger and better
According to Show Manager Jill Ryan, the 2007 expo in Orlando had a large GSE presence and proved successful for many of the exhibitors and attendees alike. The Orlando show hosted 217 GSE exhibitors versus 203 in 2006. In terms of square footage, the GSE portion of the show also grew considerably with 58,100 net square feet of space compared to 52,100 square feet in 2006. According to Ryan, the 2007 show held “more than a football field of GSE equipment.”

Dallas looks promising
“Key vendors indicated they saw all the major players from the major airlines,” Ryan says. “Early bookings for 2008 in Dallas are huge with major suppliers contracting significant space. We came out of the show with 60 booths more than we did coming out of the show last year.”
Ryan believes the 2008 show in Dallas will serve as an excellent location for an aviation show. For exhibitors signing up for next year, the expo team tested a new space draw system. Ryan cited the system as a success which worked smoothly for those who participated.

See you next year
With Dallas’ central location and strong aviation history, the 2008 Aviation Industry Expo seems to be well on its way to surpassing its previous numbers yet again.