Attendees at last month’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva may have been left a bit confused. The business aviation industry cannot seem to agree amongst itself what its role is, or who its customers are.
The industry’s representatives are clearly trying to change the image of business aviation. This was evident in the opening general session, which focussed on extolling the benefits of business aviation from a humanitarian perspective and from a pure economics angle.
The speakers were carefully chosen to support this image. We heard a presentation from the co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontiers, who pointed out that much of the work his organisation, and other organisations like his, did would not be possible without the ability to charter private aircraft. Meanwhile, the billionaire entrepreneur, Bassim Haidar, explained how owning a private aircraft was a cost-effective way for him to run his business.
All very noble and inspiring.
However, on entering the trade show, the bottles of Moët, personalised cutlery on display, glamorous female attendants, and choice of luxurious interiors suggested that much of the industry is marketing itself at a very different customer.