AAD on track


About 80% of the 12 000m² of show space for this year’s edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) has been sold.

Exhibition director Geoff van Hees says three new national pavilions have increased AAD 2010’s display area by more than 1200m². “Some 80% of the exhibition space has already been booked, which is remarkable considering the worldwide economic situation that has impacted on the global aerospace and defence industry,” Van Hees says. “The fact that Turkey, China and the United States of America have all booked large national pavilions at AAD2010 underlines their confidence in South Africa and in the potential for business here,” he added.

It is the first time these three countries are exhibiting as national pavilions at AAD.”With six months to go before opening day, AAD2010 has already outgrown the previous show held in 2008. As last time AAD2010 takes place at the Ysterplaat air force base in Cape Town. This year’s event opens on 21 September with three trade days dedicated to professionals and media, after which the public join in the fun on 24 and 25 September,” Van Hees adds.

He says of the 12 000m² available, some 10 500m² get allocated to exhibitors. The remainder are utilised for VIP registration, offices and conference facilities. “Of course, Ysterplaat has abundant outdoor display area of some 4000m², both behind the chalet line and among the hangars,” Van Hees adds. “Further, we are designing a new mobility track for dynamic vehicle demonstrations, and plan to attract more maritime craft that will berth at the V&A Waterfront.”

The organisers of AAD2010 hope to surpass the previous numbers of some 350 exhibiting companies from 35 countries. Some 80 foreign delegations from around the world have been invited, many from Africa, as well as the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Almost 80 officially invited foreign delegations attended AAD2008, including 20 defence ministers, many from African countries. Some 13 000 trade visitors provided the 400 exhibitors from 35 countries with the opportunity to market their products to Africa. Some 22 000 visitors atended AAD2006.
“Visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the enhanced facilities at AFB Ysterplaat,” Van Hees further adds. “A modern trade visitor registration area has been built to improve access into the show. There are also a new conference locale and offices for our first-ever official show daily magazine, produced for us by the Jane’s Information Group in London.”

In addition Wavelengths 10 was given the green light to produce the ever-popular AAD Exhibition Directory after a tender process. The AAD2010 directory is once again a full-colour A4-sized publication, with “information invaluable to all sectors of the aviation and defence business. Experience has shown that media organisations, government, visiting delegations and enthusiasts all find it most useful,” Van Hees says. Although produced to coincide with the exhibition itself the directory has an extended shelf life of two years.

As in previous years, AAD2010 will be supported by the departments of Defence (DOD), Trade and Industry (DTI), Transport (DOT), Science and Technology (DST) and Public Enterprises (DPE). For the DOD “it remains crucial to participate in AAD2010, because of the value it places on its relations with the South African defence industry, among its key stakeholders. Through the defence industry’s support the DOD continues to deliver on its mandate to protect the territorial integrity of the Republic and its people.
“The DOD contributes to peace missions on the African continent under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN). Along with its humanitarian operations in Africa, these missions have earned South Africa numerous accolades, notably as honest peace broker in Africa. The DOD is also acknowledged as one of the largest troop contributors to the UN. Much of the success the DOD enjoys can be attributed to its excellent relations with South Africa’s defence
“The AAD exhibition has contributed enormously to the growth of global trade in Africa, thereby strengthening South Africa’s position as a reliable business partner in the international arena. The DOD believes exhibitions like AAD2010 are very important to demonstrate its healthy partnership
with the defence industry. Without this partnership the DOD would be hardpressed to sustain peace missions and fulfil its obligations, thus contributing to a stable Africa and prosperous South Africa,” an AAD newsletter says.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Association of SA, South Africa’s commercial aviation association, says the exhibition has the advantage of expanding business for its members and associates. “Through AAD2010 we have an opportunity to market our members’ products and services into our biggest market, Africa,” says CAASA CE Kim Gorringe. “Although many of the delegates are in uniform we find that they tend to have significant influence in their countries, he says, “resulting in doors being opened for our industry.”

Gorringe adds the commercial general aviation industry comprises several sectors, from leasing and charter operations to training and maintenance. “In the area of skills development, commercial general aviation serves as the ‘nursery school’ for the aviation industry,” he says. “Many of the personnel employed in the airlines cut their teeth – and build hours – in the general aviation
sector. Also, the commercial general aviation model we have in South Africa could be successfully applied in Africa, where skills loss, sustainability and safety in the airline sector remain a concern.”

According to Gorringe, general aviation represents the largest component of the South African civil aviation sector. CAASA’s constituency is ideally positioned to expand its contribution to the skills base in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent. He believes the commercial general aviation sector should support AAD2010 in a big way – as it has always done – for the benefit the industry undoubtedly derives from Africa’s premier exhibition and air show.

In another development, media accreditation is now open and media passes may be collected at the Trade Visitor reception area from 09:30 on September 20. “Due to the high demand for access to good vantage points around the exhibition site, especially for the flying displays, the organisers give preference to bona fide accredited journalists and photographers,” cautions Billy Nell, AAD2010 media spokesman. “We’ll have a vehicle ready to ferry accredited photographers to certain locations so they can get ‘close to the action’.”

Pic: Joint Operations chief Lt Gen Themba Matanzima viewing a stand at AAD2008.