Firms seek answers from business aviation conferences organiser MIU Events

London
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Customers of a business aviation conference organiser are desperately trying to contact the company to find out what is happening after a pair of events were cancelled, one at extremely short notice.

However, despite repeated attempts, no-one from Chichester, UK-based MIU Events has been in touch to explain whether the conferences will be rescheduled or if sponsors and attendees will be refunded money they have already paid.

MIU Events, owned and run by Alan Perry, was due to host two forums in the UK this year – the Rotary Operations Conference at the Verta hotel next to the London Heliport, and Business Aircraft Europe at London Biggin Hill airport.

However, ROC was cancelled on 8 July, less than 24h before the event was due to take place. Emails sent by MIU to attendees blame its failure on a lack of interest from operators. “Consequently, we have taken the view that it would not be good for speakers and sponsors to be talking to a half-full room,” it reads.

MIU promised to reschedule the conference – which had attracted sponsorship from Airbus Helicopters, Vector Aerospace and Sikorsky – but no revised date was provided.

BAE, meanwhile, was scheduled to take place on 10-11 September, but London Biggin Hill airport on 31 July issued a statement confirming that the event had been called off.

A spokesman for the airport says that it had proved impossible to finalise a contract with MIU to enable this year’s show to go ahead.

“They were unable to sit down and make any kind of contractual arrangement,” he says.

Although BAE 2013 was reasonably successful – pulling in 54 exhibitors including the likes of Airbus Helicopters and Gulfstream and with 13 aircraft on the static display – there are some contractors who are still waiting for payment.

Conrad Hawkins runs Snap Display Systems in Suffolk in the east of the UK. His firm is still owed monies for work carried out at BAE last year, but despite repeated assurances from MIU the debt remains outstanding.

“It’s very, very tight out there and for a small company like ours to possibly lose £18,000 [$30,000] is enough to swing the bottom line from one way to another,” he says.

Zoe Varzi, who runs jet cleaning company The Full Wax, planned to attend both events, paying a total of £2,700 in advance.

“That represents 50% of our advertising budget and it means we are not able to promote ourselves at these two shows,” says Varzi.

MIU, which has plans to run a portfolio of exhibitions and conferences in the UK, Dubai and Singapore, appears to have had a financially difficult time recently. Its unaudited accounts for the period to 30 June 2013 – the most recent figures available and which were approved on 21 March this year – show a loss of £56,581 for the period. Cumulative losses stood at £179,497 and net liabilities £181,578.

It states that the accounts treat the company as a “going concern” based on the receipt of “assurances from its director and shareholder” Alan Perry that “he will ensure the company has adequate resources to pay its debts… for at least 12 months from the date that these accounts are signed”.

Despite repeated attempts, Flightglobal was unable to contact Perry or anyone else at MIU. His profile on the LinkedIn website lists him as currently employed as an aviation consultant at Dubai World Central.