Every May, Geneva plays host to the annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE). This annual event brings together the largest gathering of business aircraft operators, manufacturers, and a host of other companies associated with business aviation in one way or another. The event is the largest of its kind in Europe and is co-hosted by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this years EBACE and, for me, as with last year, it was an excellent show with many new concepts unveiled within the business aviation sector.
This year there were 499 exhibitors present, which is an 8% increase on last year and hopefully a firm sign that the business aviation sector is picking up momentum after the 2008 global financial crisis.
Along with the various exhibition stands within the PALEXPO exhibition center, there was an impressive static display. This year 56 aircraft were present, ranging from single-engine props right through to large corporate/VIP aircraft, such as the Airbus A319CJ and Boeing BBJ.
From the aircraft manufacturers, there were a number of big announcements including the Gulfstream G650ER launch. The G650ER an extended-range version of the G650 which will have a range of 7,500 nautical miles; this will open up significant non-stop city pairs, such as New York to Hong Kong, thus making it the longest ranging business aircraft in production.
Gulfstream is presently giving clients who have a G650 on order the opportunity to upgrade to the G650ER, and also the option to retrofit current G650 models in service. At present, deliveries of the G650/G650ER are scheduled until mid-2017, which again is another sure sign that business aviation is on the up-and-up, in particular with larger cabin aircraft.
Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), in cooperation with Fokker Services, launched the panoramic window concept for the BBJ MAX series. The panoramic window is a custom modification to the fuselage of the aircraft (similar to a cargo door conversion) which, once completed, gives a continuous window pane with a total diameter of 54.5 inches. This modification is available for all BBJ MAX aircraft.
The panoramic window concept is the first of its kind in the aviation industry, and will prove to be an interesting custom addition to any BBJ MAX orders, particularly when viewing the aircraft from the outside.
EBACE is truly a world-class business aviation event unlike any I have previously attended. Even though this is an event specifically focused on business aviation, the most demanding and prestigious sector of the aviation industry, it was great to see the large number of attendees who all share a common passion for aviation.
I have also found that no matter how serious an aviation event such as EBACE is, there is always time for a laugh and a bit of good old “avgeekery”.
If you are looking for more details and photos – have no worry. In my second part of EBACE coverage, I will take a closer at the aircraft static display, so stay tuned.