As the curtain slowly drops on the last trade day here at Farnborough 2000, opinion seems to be divided on the success of the event.

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) which has organised this 52nd Farnborough airshow, say it's the biggest and brightest one yet, not least because the date was brought forward from September to July. But it's the date that may be causing the problem, judging by a straw poll conducted by Flight Daily News in the exhibition halls and on the showground.

Company representatives manning the stands say that it¹s been a relatively quiet show in terms of visitor numbers. Outside however, it's a different story.

Lisa Beckwith, who's been roller-skating around the show site, handing out gifts to people on behalf of MTU Aero Engines (Hall 1/C9) says: "This is fantastic. There are lots of people and they're all really friendly. It's certainly the busiest show that I've ever done."

Juleika Mathe, from F Wilson Associates, the company running the souvenir shop says: "We've been extremely busy. In fact we sold out of a lot of our expensive items on Day 1.

This year's theme is a cuddly toy monkey, and we have 18 different varieties to choose from. Business has been brisk and I put that down to the sunny weather, which has encouraged people outside."

Fred 'Spaulding' Landau, who pilots the Boeing F/A-18F on display in the static park says: "Farnborough is fantastic. I attend lots of airshows, but this is the only place where visitors really know their stuff and ask intelligent questions.

"And this year it¹s been really busy. I think the weather has brought everyone out."

WPC Jackie Jones says: "This year Farnborough has been really enjoyable. The weather has created a fun atmosphere outside The people have been friendly, happy and obliging."

"The business cycle in America is down and we're about to hit the European and British holidays, so people in business are preparing to take a break instead of a trip to the airshow."

Steve Wyatt, director of development for Recon/Optical (Hall 2/A27) says: "It does seem quiet, but we still meet lots of quality business partners, suppliers and customers because we make arrangements in advance."

Frans Peeraer, director of marketing from Asco (Hall 1/B11) says: "Moving the date of the show was not a good idea because it clashes with the European holidays.

"If the organisers want to pull the dates back, why not make it June, like Paris?"

Mike Maunder, commercial director at Hurel-Dubois (Hall 4/E12) says: "This is our seventh Farnborough and it seems the same as all the others. It's definitely a bad idea to bring the date forward because it clashes with the holiday period. The SBAC should have left the September dateline alone."

Thomas Christ, manager fairs and exhibition in the European Aeronautics Defence and Space EADS pavilion says: "The opening day was slow, but as the week went on, we have seen an increase in numbers. We have to remember this is a trade show, and we have been getting quality delegations."

Xavier Carrier, electronics marketing manager of Latecoere (Hall 1/D5) says: "Farnborough is a meeting place that can't be missed. This year has been comparable with others and although numbers do seem down, we're happy."

Source: Flight Daily News