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International Trade Shows Proving Essential for Aircraft Manufacturers

Payoff Comes With Increase In Global Sales

As anyone who has exhibited at trade show can attest, it ain't cheap. And doing it internationally puts an even larger burden on trade show budgets.

But for many aviation manufacturers, it's the price of business.

"It's millions and millions of dollars in infrastructure -- things like chalets, bringing in our demonstrator aircraft or leasing customer airplanes that are based regionally or locally, transporting employees and dining and entertainment," said Bombardier Aerospace spokesman Leo Knaapen, to the Wichita Eagle. "It's a high-cost item, but this is a high-profile business."

ANN has reported on many well-known manufacturers reaching beyond domestic sales... including Boeing, Garmin, Lockheed Martin, Columbia, Cirrus, Piper, Avidyne, Bell, Enstrom, and Cirrus.

Many of those manufacturers will be at least one of the three international trade shows open within the next month:

  • Dubai's Middle East Business Aviation conference January 31 - February 1
  • Hong  Kong's Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition February 6-7
  • AeroIndia 2007 February 7-11 in Bangalore, India.

The three regions are important to the sale of business jets and single-engine aircraft, as the percentage of both types delivered to international markets continues to rise.

"I think you're going to find these are all areas where the potential for sales is great," said Cessna Aircraft spokesman Doug Oliver.

At the Dubai conference, sponsors include the likes of Boeing, Shell, Xerox, Chevron, and Air BP.

The Asian Business Aviation Conference has exhibit space going for $3,500 to $3,900 for a 9.8’ by 9.8’ space, depending on NBAA membership. Sponsorship ranges from $2,000 ("You Are Here" signs) to $25,000 (tote bags), depending on what is sponsored.

More than 60 percent of exhibitors at the 2005 AeroIndia conference were foreign-owned companies. Over at Cessna, the international market has increased from 40 percent to about 50 percent of its business, the company reports.

For Raytheon Aircraft, the percentage of international Beechcraft and Hawker deliveries increased from 16 percent in 2004 to 29 percent in 2005. Its goal,"  said spokesman Mike Turner, "is to increase the percentage of international sales to nearly 50 percent.

International business aircraft deliveries at Bombardier jumped to 59 percent of its business in 2006.

The Persian Gulf region has developed a lot in the past few years, said Bombardier's Knaapen, first with a demand for large business jets. During the past two or three years, there has been important growth in the market for light and midsize business jets.

"We've had good success throughout the Middle East in the last six to nine months," Knaapen affirmed. "It's picked up very nicely from a Learjet perspective. Part of it is the right aircraft, but a big part of it is relationships."

FMI: www.bombardier.com, www.cessna.com, www.raytheonaircraft.com

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