The organisers of the annual AERO Friedrichshafen aviation trade fair have postponed this year’s show to an undetermined date due to fears about the global spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
The event was set to take place from 1-4 April in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen. It would have been the 28th annual AERO and would have featured more than 700 exhibitors. In 2019, more than 40,000 visitors attended the event.
“The current situation with the coronavirus has resulted in a nasty domino effect,” said Klaus Wellmann, managing director of Messe Friedrichshafen, the trade fair complex that hosts the show, on 6 March. “The industry members of the general aviation community also see the health and economic risks of the upcoming trade fair as too high. We share this assessment, but it is with a heavy heart that we now need to take this serious step together.”
The head of AERO, Roland Bosch, added, “I have never experienced a comparable situation in the last 30 years. In accordance with the saying ‘Complete safety is an illusion; there are only varying degrees of risk and uncertainty,’ we were convinced right up until the end that we would be able to overcome the challenge we were facing in the coronavirus.”
“However, in recent days we received a very large number of cancellations and clear signals from our exhibitors and potential visitors, making it impossible to hold the event now,” he said.
The show has become the largest general aviation event outside of the United States, and also the industry’s most important non-US event. Friedrichshafen, located on Lake Constance, is home to Zeppelin, the world’s first airship company, and the city is a historic centre for aviation and aerospace development since before the First World War.