EBACE2022 – “lightning in a bottle”

“EBACE2022 has been lightning in a bottle, bringing people from across the world together to see, touch and feel the future of business aviation,” said Secretary-General of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) Athar Husain. “We depart Geneva driven by the innovation and enthusiasm turbocharged here at EBACE, thrilled to be part of an industry that’s leading, evolving and growing.”

EBACE2022 marked the return to an ‘in person’ event for the first time since 2019 and back at its usual home at Geneva airport’s Palexpo Centre from 23 to 25 May. Co-hosted by the EBAA and the NBAA, overall exhibitor numbers this year were down – around 300, compared to 400 in 2019 and 418 a year earlier. The fall was attributed largely to continuing Covid travel restrictions and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some visitors to the re-imagined exhibition halls, which included large ‘Innovation’ and ‘New Exhibitor’ areas, reported more space and a slightly less frenzied atmosphere compared to previous years – but that should not detract from the enduing importance of seeing EBACE back in person.

The familiar EBACE static park featured some 47 aircraft – from a whole suite of Gulfstreams (G280, G500, G600, G650ER and G700), though to a debut for the Falcon 6X on the Dassault stand, which also featured a full-size cabin mock-up of the much-anticipated Falcon 10X. The size spectrum ran from the massive ACJ319 and BBJ through to the diminutive Tecnam P2012 Traveller and Cirrus SR22. Bombardier was also to the fore. The Canadian OEM displayed examples of the Challenger 350, 650 and Global 6500 and 7500, and announced the official launch of the new larger and faster flagship Global 8000.

The keynote session featured Martina Navratilova, former tennis ace and keen pilot, and Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter, who made his first address to EBACE delegates. Inspiring youth was represented by Zara Rutherford, the Belgian-British aviator who last year became the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world at age 19 and the first person to complete a circumnavigation in a microlight aircraft (a Shark ultralight), and Maya Ghazal, who last year became the first female Syrian refugee to gain a private pilot licence at age 21 and was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The ‘Innovation Pavilion’, which featured a wide array of advanced air mobility (AAM) and electric craft, dovetailed neatly with the overriding theme of EBACE2022 – sustainability. The first EBACE Business Aviation Sustainability Summit focused on game-changing technologies and strategic developments that will help the sector reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050. Almost half of the panel sessions took sustainability as their theme. The Newsmakers Luncheon featured industry innovators in hydrogen-powered aircraft, high-performance batteries and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The show also saw the launch of the Forever Flight Alliance, which aims to decarbonise aviation, backed by the NBAA and Prince Albert II of Monaco among others. To emphasise the drive to sustainability, all the aircraft in the static display were fuelled with SAF for departure thanks to an arrangement between TotalEnergies, Jet Aviation and Geneva Airport.

“This entire week at EBACE was a celebration of business aviation – of the inspiring people, bold ideas, emerging technologies and new markets propelling us forward,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “With every new product launched and the visionary thought leadership explored on our speaker stages, this show opened hearts and fired imaginations. EBACE2022 made clear: This is our time.”

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