What’s different: how Farnborough is changing

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“We’ve sold every nook and cranny of space available,” says Amanda Stainer, head of exhibitions and events at the newly formed Farnborough International (FIL).

The figures are impressive, especially for a show that only two years ago seemed to be sliding into obscurity. “There was a lot of uncertainty and a little bit of confusion”, says FIL managing director Trevor Sidebottom. “The SBAC was wondering if a trade association really ought to be exposing itself to the risk of running a commercial event like this.”

A major review and UK industry feedback established “loud and clear” that the show should remain within the SBAC remit, but a private enterprise with the flexibility to manage the event on a fully commercial basis was needed. The result has been the creation of FIL, wholly owned by the SBAC, which has strived to make the show more attractive. Prices for 2006 exhibition space are the same as for 2004 and exhibitor “benefit” packages improved. Prices for the full seven-day aircraft participation have been halved, resulting in an immediate increase in the numbers of aircraft present. A new range of exhibitor options is being offered, including turnkey chalet options, and enhanced meeting conference facilities prepared.

The show’s format has also changed, partly to take account of the International Air Tattoo at Fairford on the weekend of 15-16 July, with which Sidebottom says “we have an extremely good relationship”. The first day of Farnborough, Monday 17 July, will therefore be “more relaxed”, he says, beginning at 10:00 and closing at 16:00. Subsequent trade days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will start at 09:30 and end at 17:30.

Friday will see a new addition, International Youth Day. Sponsored by Dubai Aerospace Enterprises, it will host 1,250 young people aged 15-23 in the hope of stimulating interest in aerospace careers. Supported by the UK industry and the Department of Trade and Industry, the day is intended to give young visitors first-hand experience of the industry via lectures, narrated tours around the exhibitions and static aircraft and involvement in tailored demonstrations.

A new two-storey Hall 1A, will house a business centre and meeting rooms on the ground floor. Upstairs there is a revamped media centre with viewing balcony and improved facilities, along with a new exhibitors restaurant.

The company exhibition areas have grown considerably, more exhibitors having opted for combined chalet/stands. Gripen International, for example, will stage its largest-ever presence at Farnborough with a stand, chalet and exhibition centre. The usual red Finmeccanica area will now include AgustaWestland, next to a “massive” presence from Bell, says Sidebottom.

Flying high

A “superb” line-up of aircraft is promised, dominated by the Airbus A380 performing daily routines. Airbus will also bring an A340-600 and A319, while Boeing will show off its 777-300ER in the colours of Taiwan’s EVA Air. Regional aircraft will include the ATR 42 and Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprops and Bombardier CRJ900 and Embraer 190 regional jets.

Other new participants include the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor – one flying, the other static – and the Royal Air Force’s Raytheon Sentinel R1 Astor surveillance aircraft in the static display. An RSK MiG-29 OVT demonstrator will fly, showing off its prototype thrust- vectoring technology. Other fighters will include the Boeing F-15 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, Panavia Tornado and Saab/BAE Gripen.

Military trainers will range from the piston-powered Slingsby Firefly to three turboprops, the Raytheon T6A, Pilatus PC-9M and PC-21 and Aermacchi S211A; two basic and intermediate jet trainers, the Aermacchi M311 and Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) HJT36; and four advanced jet trainers, the Aermacchi M346, Yakovlev Yak-130, Aero Vodochody L-159B and BAE Systems Hawk.

Rotorcraft include HAL’s Druv advanced light helicopter and NH Industries’ NH90. Finmeccanica will show the Westland AH-64 Apache combat helicopter and AgustaWestland the AW139 medium-twin, A109 light utility twin and A129 Mangusta anti-tank helicopters.

FIL is determined to “build on the success” of the 2004 business aircraft park. Around 30 fixed-wing aircraft and commercial helicopters will be displayed. Making their debuts at Farnborough are Bombardier’s new Global Express XRS, Raytheon’s Hawker 850XP and Premier IA and Sino-Swearingen SJ30. Embraer will also show off its Legacy 600 super mid-size corporate jet, Gulfstream a G200, G450, G550 and a pre-owned GV, and Piaggio the P180 Avanti II.

Another Farnborough first will be aerial displays by unmanned air vehicles – although nothing heavier than 20kg (44lb) will be allowed. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has taken twice the space it had in 2004 and aircraft will include the Boeing Scan Eagle, DRS Unmanned Technologies’ Sentry HP and Neptune, Elbit’s Hermes 450, Finmeccanica’s Sky-X, General Atomics’ Predator, Honeywell’s Micro Air Vehicle and the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout and Global Hawk. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association is hosting a UAV conference in Hall 1A.