Now more than ever

Now more than ever
Now more than ever

Farnborough International Ltd's marketing & communications director, Andrew Pearcey (pictured middle) explains how the Farnborough International Airshow will once again provide an international stage on which the supply chain has its chance to shine.

In terms of their relevance to the supply chain, every event in the aerospace manufacturing calendar is important and events like the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) are now more important than ever! “The international aerospace supply chain thrives on events such as this,” Pearcey begins. “The importance of face-to-face interaction with customers and suppliers is what feeds the industry. And having such a multitude of new business opportunities from across a wide range of sectors is what the Farnborough Airshow's participants and visitors expect. It's about bringing people together and it's something that's not easily achievable outside of events like this.” As ever, under close scrutiny will be this year's predicted exhibitor and visitor figures in comparison to 2014. “We have been overwhelmed with exhibition space now over 90% sold and 32% of direct exhibitors that are new to FIA. Demand has been high, but we do have limited stands available - so it's not too late. Our dedicated sales team is available to talk through any last minute options. “It's still early days for announcing visitor attendance figures, but we have a comprehensive marketing plan and we are targeting more countries and a broader audience. We anticipate increased visitor attendance whilst keeping the overall quality that is consistent with the Farnborough brand.” A world machine I'm interested to discover the breakdown of countries attending the event, particularly the growing influence of China for example. “The 2016 edition is raising the bar on international participation by increasing international participation and the introduction of new pavilions from Austria, Brazil, China, Republic of Ireland and South Korea. “We have 22 nations hosting pavilions at the show from Europe, the US, Canada, South America, Russia and the Far East. This is up from 17 national pavilions in 2014. Chinese participation is at its largest with a dedicated Chinese pavilion representing a 103% increase in footprint and a 98% increase in spend compared to the 2014 show. “Overall, 67% of Farnborough's participants are international which speaks volumes about the event. And with some of these big booming markets it means that FIA 2016 will open more doors and present more opportunities for all.” The big question on every plane-spotter's lips is what aircraft will be on display/flying. “As well as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, other aircraft anticipated to be either on flying or static display include the Antonov 187, Airbus A350, Bombardier C Series, Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and Boeing C727. Hybrid Air Vehicles is also hoping to demonstrate its Airlander, the world's largest aircraft, which is currently in the earliest stages of its flight test programme.” Equally important though is what will be happening on the ground. Networking and engagement was noted as a key feature of the show with an increased number of briefings and workshops taking place. “As well as a host of ADS-led events, SAE International will be running an MRO workshop and Aviation Week a Commercial Manufacturing Briefing. Furthermore, EUPIC (the EU Project Innovation Centre) will be hosting a conference regarding aerospace business opportunities in China. Alongside the popular Meet The Buyer event and Welcome Reception we expect to provide excellent business networking across all five days of the show week.” And regarding the types of international and governmental delegations visiting the show, FIL says its Delegations programme at FIA is second to none. “We expect to see 81 military delegations from 50 countries, including Air Force chiefs, army commanders, defence ministers and UK MOD procurement staff. We will also run a Commercial & Civil delegations programme and expect to see up to 20 delegations from senior foreign government officials, airlines, civil aviation, Tier 1 manufacturers and MRO organisations. These programmes are instrumental to the show. It is supported by the Defence Services Organisation (DSO) and the programme is available to all participants.” Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) exhibiting at larger airshows are often overlooked by visitors because they are ‘hidden' by the larger OEMs. “SME companies are very important to the industry's supply chain and to Farnborough itself. Over 250 SME companies in the UK alone were represented at FIA 2014 – that's 17% of its overall participants. “At Farnborough it's about giving SMEs the right tools to help them make the most of their experience. We will run a session for FIA SMEs to attend in order to make the most of ROI, how to work the show and the importance of face-to-face interaction. We will also give SMEs guidance and tips on how to use social media to get that all important exposure. “Other support includes onsite facilities, such as the SME Lounge which offers services away from the main show floor for meeting potential clients. Additionally, we offer the first time exhibitors zones within the halls to allow companies to exhibit at the show together with ease and with a specially designed turnkey package.” People meeting people FIL says that the FIA's Meet The Buyer programme has seen continued successes, with 2014's show generating £5 million worth of business. “The programme is a premier networking event, with a focus on connecting suppliers directly with potential buyers across the aerospace, defence, space and security sectors. Meet The Buyer has been extended to a three-day event. 2014 saw nearly £5m of business generated where organisers brought together potential buyers and suppliers in a series of pre-planned meetings. The business relationships fostered from these short meetings have proved extremely successful for smaller exhibitors looking to meet with procurement heads of leading aerospace businesses. “This year we anticipate that Meet The Buyer will reinforce what we pride ourselves on at FIA: making valuable business connections from country to country,” Pearcey concludes. “FIA is where the world's aerospace industry meets, and Meet The Buyer is the perfect way for its participants to be part of this.”

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