Sunday, May 24, 2009

9th Airport Show draws more than 4,700 attendees; exhibitors confident of industry resurgence led by region

Dubai, May 21, 2009 – The 9th Airport Show in Dubai ended on a high note today, after drawing more than 4,700 attendees from 60 countries in three days, offering more than AED 500 million in preliminary procurement deals. The show’s popularity highlights the Middle East’s primacy in aviation and the strength of the exhibitions sector.

Reed Exhibitions, who acquired the Airport Show in mid-2008, recorded a 23 per cent increase in the number of hosted buyers from 35 in 2008 to 43 this year, representing 19 airports from 11 countries.

“The 2009 results drastically exceeded our expectations, and the feedback from exhibitors, international pavilions and industry leaders is positive,” said Ara Fernezian, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions. “This was a very tough year for us given market conditions. We put all our resources into ensuring the success of the Dubai Airport Show, including accelerating our hosted buyer program to include 19 of the 39 airports currently under development across the MENASA region. The quality of visitors to the show and diversity of business offerings have been remarkable this year.”

The surge in business also underlines the unmatched potential of specialist industry exhibitions, he said. “In difficult times, this success proves that exhibitions and networking opportunities are the best catalyst and an unrivalled tool for business generation in any sector. No other medium or marketing medium can generate the volume, quality and value of business in these time frames.”

Global and regional exhibitors, buyers and pavilion leaders from Algeria to the United States called the 9th Dubai Airport Show an unqualified success, and expressed their confidence in the Middle East’s role as a key driver of the international aviation industry.

Richard Mears, Director of Business Development for Northrop Grumman, the US-based global security, aerospace and defense company, said: “The Airport Show in Dubai continues to be an unprecedented opportunity for us because it is the hub of the major airport infrastructure development across the wider region. Despite the downturn, we see airport operators investing in upgrading systems rather than opting for entirely new ones.”

Grumman, the fourth largest defense company in the world, is also seeing strong regional demand for air traffic management and airport security solutions, he added.

On the buyer end, R. C. Sinha, Additional Chief Secretary of the Government of Maharashtra, India’s third largest state, said the state had identified 20 Airport Show participating companies as suppliers for the seven airports under its purview. The seven Maharashtra projects are valued at USD 3 billion.

“The Dubai Airport Show has been very successful for us, and we have been able to find and connect with quality suppliers for a variety of components from weigh bridges and docking stations to software,” Sinha said. “We conducted more than 45 meetings with suppliers’ senior management over the last three days, and look forward to taking these relationships to the next level with commercial offers.”

Queue management specialists Tensator from the United Kingdom, participating in the show for the fourth consecutive year, said the 2009 participation was the company’s most successful yet.

“Despite the downturn and the lower pace of activity, we saw a greater quality of visitors to our stand,” said Ahmed Abdul Latif, Business Development Manager. “Every single person we came in contact with was a serious prospect, and we are confident of obtaining business from at least half of those.”

The 9th Dubai Airport Show drew more than 210 exhibitors from 30 countries, and airport officials from 19 airports from Tunisia to China representing nearly AED 25 billion (US$6.8 billion) in airport project development.

The Airport Show is supported by leading aviation companies and trade bodies including Dubai Airports, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, German Airport Technology and Equipment, Danish Airport Group, British Aviation Group, British Airport Services and Equipment Association, and UBIFRANCE, the French Agency for International Business Development.

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