Coordinator Visitor Service
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Flight is passion and fascination but also innovation: General aviation was once again the focus at the AERO 2018, especially electric aircraft. At the e-flight-expo, experts presented the latest state of the art technology, aircraft that sail through the skies almost without a sound. After four days, the 26th global show for general aviation came to a close at the fairgrounds in Friedrichshafen on Saturday, April 21 2018, with an exceptionally positive result. This good result was thanks to 31,100 industry visitors (2016: 30 800) from Europe, Asia, Oceania and the rest of the world, as well as 630 exhibitors from 38 countries. Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann said: “The AERO is probably the world’s most important business meeting for general aviation, many product premieres take place here.” AERO project leader Roland Bosch, who was able to talk to a lot of exhibitors during the show’s four days, reported that the mood was decidedly optimistic.
This year, a special focus at the AERO has been on new topics that have been very well received by the industry. The newly created area dedicated to flight simulators was met with strong visitor interest. In light of these large crowds, experts are sure that the Flight Simulation Area offers great potential. Another area that made its premiere was the Helicopter Hangar, where experts on the “worker bee” of aviation come together. Helicopters are known as the worker bee because they perform important services in rescue and work operations, in construction projects in difficult terrain and in aerial observation. The use of civilian drones is also a subject of extensive and controversial discussion in the aviation industry, and with many new exhibitors in attendance, was given a broad platform at the AERO in Friedrichshafen in the West Foyer.
New products were the focus of both the industry and the media at Friedrichshafen. Visitors to the AERO are exceptionally well qualified (60 percent are pilots), with about 60 percent coming from abroad, and they bring this expert knowledge and strong interest in flight to the show. This is especially important for exhibitors, who present a broad spectrum of vehicles at the show, ranging from ultralights weighing 120 kg (265 lbs.) to business jets.
The AERO Friedrichshafen is the international business meeting for general aviation. Ultralights, powered aircraft and business planes are there, as are ultralight helicopters, gyrocopters and many suppliers of pilot equipment as well as cockpit and on-board systems. In the ultralight area in particular, the new 600 kg class was met with strong interest. This an area in which manufacturers expect significant revenue growth in the future. The be a pilot campaign also made a noticeable impact; in the view of the Messe Friedrichshafen team, the efforts to recruit a new generation of pilots with special offerings like drone demos and the simulators area bore fruit.
Smudo, Vocalist of the band Die Fantastischen Vier:
“I have been coming to the AERO regularly since I started flying, almost every year. Today I am only here for a short time, I have a television appearance in Cologne tonight. That is only possible with a plane. I meet a lot of people here, including fellow pilots. Over time, I have also gotten to know a lot of people in the field of flying. I will always keep coming back. I was in love with flying from an early age. Flying is not a millionaires’ hobby. It is not that hard, it’s not magic. Some people save up for a sports car when they get older. A friend of mine recently said: an airplane is much better and cheaper than an expensive sports car, you just can’t drive it to the ice cream parlor.”
Dr. Nicolas von Mende, CEO of Atlas Air Service AG: “The growth we expect in our industry has been reflected in the positive response from visitors.” Trevor Pegrum, Sales & Marketing Manager, Garmin: “For Garmin, the AERO is a huge success, like always, especially this year, as we have some completely new products with us for the first time. As the largest and for us the most important aviation show in Europe, it holds a very prominent position for Garmin and brings us together every year with established customers as well as interested visitors to our stand and at the seminars. But one thing above all connects the visitors to the AERO and our staff: the passion for flight. That is why we really value the AERO and will of course be back next year.” Frank Liemandt, Spokesman of the German Helicopter Association (Deutscher Hubschrauber Verband): “For the first time, we as the helicopter industry were offered our own hall including a daily conference program thanks to the wonderful support from the Messe Friedrichshafen team. It was a complete success; we were able to promote the worker bee of aviation. The daily operations of helicopters are essential to the common good, whether it be in rescue operations, police work or in the very large field that work flights represent.” Horst Lieb, Managing Partner, Comco Ikarus: “As far as the visitor side is concerned, the AERO was good again this year, in our view. How effective our appearance here at the show actually was is something that will become apparent later. Because the AERO is practically a home game for us (Comco Ikarus is based in Mengen), our customers expect us to have a presence here in Friedrichshafen. But at the same time, we also add more new customers every year. This year’s AERO is very important for the topic of ultralights and provides a good platform. I really hope that the weight topic gets some direction and that people know what is coming.”
The response in the domestic and international industry and mass media was also strong – a total of 527 media representatives from 31 countries visited the AERO in Friedrichshafen – and the situation was similar in the social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In particular the social wall in the West Foyer attracted a lot of attention and inspired active engagement by visitors. The AERO generated about 900 hastags on Instagram and Twitter, about 900 images from the show were shared on the social wall and mobile platforms and overall the number of exhibitors on Instagram increased.
The next AERO will take place from April 10 - 13, 2019 at the exhibition grounds in Friedrichshafen.