The partnership responsible for the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) are confident the exhibition and its airshow are among the top seven defence and aviation exhibitions worldwide, even though it lacks the deals concluded announcements that have become hallmarks of other exhibitions.
Explaining this, AMD (SA Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries Association) chief executive Siphiwe Hamilton said it “very seldom” happened that major aerospace and/or defence deals were concluded over the three to four day duration of a major exhibition.
“These deals take many months of negotiations and announcements made at exhibitions are generally staged to coincide with the exhibition.
“This is not part of AAD thinking and while we would welcome companies using the exhibition as a platform to announce successful deals it is not something we as organisers have actively pursued,” he said during an AAD briefing at AFB Waterkloof on Wednesday.
So it will be business at the coalface when the 20th edition of Africa’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition opens for the first trade day of 2018 on September 19.
Leon Dillman, chief executive of the Commercial Aviation Association of SA (CAASA), which hosts AAD 2018 this year, told the briefing at 44 Squadron the exhibition was “growing steadily”.
This was evidenced by exhibitors from 37 countries taking up close on 98% of indoor exhibition space with all outdoor space and flight line chalets already booked.
Foreign visitors will be led by an expected 90 delegations from close to 50 countries.
The exhibition organisers are expecting 35 000 trade visitors, by far the most important component of the AAD mix, on the three trade days – September 19, 20 and 21.
As with previous AADs at AFB Waterkloof, traffic congestion does present a problem and to alleviate this gates will open at 05h00 daily with hangar doors only opening four hours later. Dillman said a number of road closures and changes to normal traffic routes will be announced closer to the exhibition to make access better.
He is expecting around 100 aircraft to be at AFB Waterkloof for AAD.
“Forty-four have been confirmed,” he said this week with indications that the SA Air Force (SAAF) will have Gripen, Hawk, Rooivalk and other aircraft in its inventory both on static display as well as taking part in the airshow. Foreign aircraft participation includes aircraft from Zimbabwe and the United States, among others.