EBACE Notes, Gripes and Accolades
When you're used to being the center of a particular universe and that universe shifts orbits (or whatever it is they do), what do you do? Well, you pay $26 for a nice, but by no means monumental, plate of carbonara, $207 a night for a franchise hotel room and buy power converters so all your stuff will work as you get in line with the new arrangement of the planets.
As you may have noticed, AVweb has taken a trip across the pond to EBACE 2008 in Geneva this week, and you better believe I'm glad we did. NBAA's annual extravaganza (there are only a few places the convention can be held because it's grown so big) in Orlando this coming fall will have a hard act to follow after this year's version of EBACE. Quite frankly, the money represented at this show is almost beyond belief, and its proximity (and generally cosmopolitan convenience) to the new big players in business aviation means this the place to be for making deals and putting out your shingle. From the heavy hitters like Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, Gulfstream and Dassault to the guy on the shuttle bus from Spokane who's selling electronic flight bags, this is an important — potentially the most important — show on the biz calendar. Every U.S.-based company that has traditionally exhibited here has increased their presence dramatically with expansive booths that are definitely European in style and refinement.
Credit crunch? What are you talking about? Boeing and Airbus now include all their products in a line of airliner-based business aircraft. If there aren't Americans to buy them, then Europeans, Asians and those from the Middle East will do just fine. North America is still the source of much of the ingenuity and quality that defines this industry but EBACE is demonstrating that there isn't a company in business aviation that cannot be global in its reach and philosophy.
After three tries, I have the power converter that works with my computer, I've figured out the shower and the lights in the hotel room (let me know your experiences with that) and have been utterly smitten with the beauty of the surroundings and the puzzled and bemused helpfulness of the people. And in one day I've seen graphically the imperative of following the global shift in this industry. Now, if I could only get my cell phone to work ... .