The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) event was canceled due to the evolving outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but the restrictions eased and the industry showed signs of recovery in 2022. Geneva, Switzerland, the home of EBACE welcomed everyone back in 2022.
This is a look back at Aviation Week Network's coverage of the event since its first year in 2001.
April 23, 2001
The European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), which premiered in Geneva in 2001, gave manufacturers and operators a chance to display their products and services in a forum dedicated to executive aviation. Coverage of the event was not as extensive as it is now, but Aviation Week afforded it slice of exposure in the form of briefs.
The second annual European Business Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition opened in Geneva, May 2002, in the midst of great change in the business aviation industry.
The decision of Bombardier Aerospace to transform its Flex-jet Europe program into a charter service is tasing questions about the soundness of attempts to transpose fractional ownership concepts beyond the U.S.
More new models and continued growth in executive shuttle services and premium charter offerings - aimed at well-heeled former Concorde travellers - highlighted this year’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), as manufacturers and operators confirmed recovery is underway.
The arrival of new models at the high end of the biz jet market and growing interest in the new entry-level segment underscore the continued, if still precarious, rebound of the business aviation sector.
Test personnel for the Dassault Falcon 7X jet face an aggressive pace as the company’s latest business jet featuring a new wing design and a fly-by-wire system gets put to the task.
Embraer’s year-old very light jet/light jet aircraft programs have been given a firm footing by air taxi start-up JetBird’s large commitment to the Phenom product line. The deal also boosts the market segment in Europe, where the response to the small jets was expected to be more hesitant than in the U.S.
A looming shortage of cabin-completion capacity is creating a new headache for the business aviation community. With manufacturers and suppliers already stretched by record orders, customers may have to wait longer for their aircraft.
Rising demand in Europe for business aviation is feeling tough competition in the sales arena among builders of legacy turboprop-powered airplanes and new light jets, blurring and overlapping traditional lines between performance, price and technologies.
Although narrow-and wide body VIP aircraft shops continued to hum, the global economic downturn is having a dramatic impact on new sales. Francois Chazelle, who heads Airbus’s executive and private aviation division, says the company expects to deliver 12 aircraft this year, compared with 10 in 2008, and considering his backlog of 40 aircraft, he anticipated similar delivery levels for a while to come.
Business Aviation leaders in Europe are urging changes in several new operating rules that they fear, if left as is, will adversely affect the biz sector. Since 2008, commercial air transport flights throughout the European Union have been covered by an interim set of regulations known as EU-Ops, which were drawn from Join Airworthiness Authorities (JAA) specifications and national rules.
A steady flow of jetliners destined for VIP service, plus a critical ageing juncture for such aircraft now approaching their teen years, is attracting new entrants to the completions business. While that competitive development should please customers, it gives some veterans pause.
If you want a brief example of how the fortunes of the business jet industry have changed in recent years, few endeavours illustrate the story as well as Cessna’s ambitions to field a super-mid-size aircraft. In 2008, at the height of the business aircraft boom, the Texatron division launched the ambitious Columbus with great fanfare. A year later, with business aviation sales tanking, the company aborted the $750 million development plan.
Pilatus Aircraft is venturing into a new market segment by launching the PC-24, a single-pilot, midsize twin-turbofan aircraft that will be able to operate from short, unpaved fields yet cruise at 425 kt. It will be priced at $8.9 million. The Swiss manufacturer touts the new model as unique, the first in a new “Super Versatile Jet” segment; its closest conventional competitor is the Embraer Phenom 300.
The business jet market divide between large-cabin, long-range models, which are selling well, and midsize to light jets, which are not, has become even more pronounced with the introduction of two more of the former: the Dassault Falcon 8X and the Gulfstream G650EER. Both aircraft, introduced at EBACE here on May 19, are iterations of previous models.
If corporate profits had been the measure for how many business aircraft would be ordered by corporations, wealthy individuals or charter companies, something may have gone wrong in the past few years. Until the financial crisis of 2008, deliveries of executive jets grew in line with or faster than profits. But the trend has reversed since then.
There’s nothing subtle about a Boeing 787. The Dash 8 version stretches 186 ft. from nose to the aft of its 5.5-story fun, or 82 in. shy of two Gulfstream G550s nose to tail. Its massive wings spread nearly 200 ft. creating acres of shade. The. 0.5-million-lb giant has enough gas to go 10,000 nm nonstop - that’s Anchorage to Cape Town, South Africa, and beyond.
With several supersonic business jets in initial development, Rolls-Royce is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the embryonic high-speed civil aircraft market and is actively studying a new generation of potential engine designs to power it.
Business aircraft manufacturers are used to sharp market cycles. They have increased their resilience, finding it good to develop a jet during a downturn, the new product hopefully being ready for the next upturn. The main challenge in such a strategy is that your shareholders may question the bet, which involves significant research and development spending.
The European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), comes as European business aircraft manufacturers are experiencing varying levels of success. Concurrently, a viable air taxi market faces challenges in establishing itself. Combined, the situations suggest the Continent’s industry remains highly sensitive to short-term changes in its environment, 10 years after a major downturn ruined prospects for a vast expansion.
Flight Paths Forward: The Future Of Business And General Aviation
Business aviation was an industry in transition as it entered 2020. The sector never fully recovered from its downturn after the 2009 financial crisis. Manufacturers rationalized production and refreshed product lines in response. But for a market that grew giddily in the first years of the new century, only to crash, flat had become the new normal.