CJI guide to surviving shows


There are four major shows held around the world which many of us will have visited. But for first time visitors they can seem daunting, especially as 75-percent of the shows are held outside of the core North American market.

Fortunately, Corporate Jet Investor is here to help. We’ll give you the low down on each of the events, where they are held, how to get there, where to stay, and what to avoid.

ABACE – Shanghai, China


Not only is ABACE the first event of the year alphabetically, but it’s also the earliest one chronologically. And as it’s held every year in Shanghai China, it could also be seen as the most exotic.

The good news though, if you’ve been to the NBAA in the past, is that the halls and static display of aircraft are right next door to each other. In fact, if you’ve visiting the static display you’re going to have to walk through the halls to get there.

The event is held at Hongqiao Airport, which is commonly, and incorrectly, referred to as Shanghai’s domestic Airport. Whilst it’s true that the majority of services are to or from mainland China, you can also fly directly to a few regional destinations are well.

This is good news if you’re flying in from elsewhere in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Seoul, Taipei or Tokyo, as you’ll be able to turn right when you exit the terminal, and walk to the exhibition site within a few minutes. If not, you’ll be flying into the rather large Pudong Airport, which is on the opposite side of Shanghai to Hongqiao.

To get to Hongqiao from Pudong you have a few options: You can catch a cab, hop on a coach, brave the metro, or you can choose our favorite option, the Maglev and then the metro. The Maglev, just in case you didn’t know, is a train. Well, it resembles a train, but instead of having a carriage on wheels, it hovers slightly above the tracks thanks to a series of magnets. It’s also fast, really fast, although it only runs at maximum speed during a section of the afternoon.

Getting to the show site from the airport is relatively straight forward. Arriving by air or Metro at Terminal One means that you can walk to the site within a few minutes. During the last show it rained quite a lot, so you’ll need to be aware that there’s very little cover for the walk.

If you arrive at Terminal Two, your best bet is to take the NBAA shuttle bus. These also run from selected hotels surrounding the airport. However, unless you want to stay close to the airport, staying in central Shanghai is always an option, especially as taxi’s are relatively cheap. The Shanghai metro system is one of the largest in the world, it’s cheap, clean and safe, although at rush hour it does get busy. Best to avoid interchange stations like People’s Square or Century Avenue, unless of course you don’t mind being pushed and shoved out of the way a lot.

The layout of the show itself is relatively small, especially when compared to EBACE or the NBAA, and you can easily walk through the halls and the static display relatively quickly.

Before you get into the site, which is in the Shanghai Hawker Pacific hangar, you’ll have to go through a security check. This is usual airport style, where you’ll have to empty out your pockets, have your bag scanned and then walk through a metal detector. If the alarm goes off, then you’re going to be patted down by the nearest security guard, male or female.

If you’re a smoker, the bad news is that you’re going to have to give up your lighter. The worse news is that you’re going to have to go through security every time you want to go back into the halls or static after smoking.

In the evenings a lot of the functions are held in either airport hotels or the city centre. Getting into the city is as easy as catching a cab or hopping back on the metro, and shouldn’t really take more than 20 minutes.

Shanghai itself is a sprawling megacity with a population of just over 25 million and is the most westernized city in China.

If you’ve never been before you’ll probably be keen to sample the best that the city has to offer. A walk along the Bund and stopping somewhere along the Hangpu river for the obligatory Shanghai tourist picture of the Pudong skyline with the Oriental TV Tower as the centerpiece is a must. Shopping is good in the city, especially on the East Nanjing road which is a short distance from the Bund. Or, for a more authentic Chinese shopping experience you can head to SciTech, a sprawling market underneath Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. Be careful down there though, as it’s also home to many of the fake goods that Shanghai is known for.

EBACE – Geneva, Switzerland


There’s no escaping the fact that EBACE is going to be the most expensive of the shows to visit, even if you’re coming from Europe. Geneva is one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit, and everything from hotel rooms to pizza’s are going to cost you. In fact, Switzerland tops the Economist’s Big Mac Index as the most expensive country in the word to get a Big Mac in.

Fortunately, the show is located right at the airport, so it’s easy to get between the two. Before you leave the arrivals hall and venture out into the rest of the airport, there’s a ticket vending machine on the wall, right by the exit. It gives you a free ticket into the city centre, so make sure you pick one up because getting a taxi will blow your transport and food budget in one go. Even if you’re staying at the airport it’s wise to pick one up just in case. You can also get a transport pass from the hotel that you’re staying in.

If you’re not staying overnight and have some bits with you that you don’t want to take into the show, you have a few options on where to drop off your stuff. You can of course take these to the EBACE site, they have a cloakroom there where you can store your bag or coat, however you’ll need to keep an eye on the time if you have a late flight as the EBACE cloakroom closes at around 7pm.

If you are flying back later, then the best bet is to store your stuff in the lockers at the station. This is located between the airport and the EBACE site, so you’ll have walk past it anyway.

If you’re staying in the city center, you can pick up a free transit pass from the airport to get you to your hotel.

Although the halls and static display are at the airport, you’re still going to have to do a bit of walking. The static display of aircraft used to be just across a bridge from the halls, however in recent years they changed the layout slightly and you’re now going to have to walk through an empty hall to get there.

Geneva itself is relatively small, and the city centre can be reached easily from the EBACE site, by either taxi or train. The train takes around 15 minutes and drops you in the middle of the city, however a taxi will obviously take you door to door. If you do get a taxi though, it might be easier to get it to drop you off outside the door of your bank, because it’s going to cost you a lot.

LABACE – Sao Paulo, Brazil

LABACE is held in Sao Paulo Brazil every August, when the average temperature begins to rise again following winter. Being a hot country though, recovery still means an average temperature of 25 degrees.

It’s the smallest out of the four annual shows, but if you want to do business in the region, then this is the place to be.

Fortunately the show is on the small side, so it’s easy to get around. But whatever you do, make sure that you don’t walk to the show site from the airport or a local hotel. There’s is a shuttle, and this is bar far the safest way to enter.

We’re not saying the Sao Paulo is a dangerous city to be in, but there are parts of the city that are best avoided. That should be easy though, as Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world, with almost 20 million inhabitants.

If you’re arriving from outside of Brazil, you’ll be flying into Guarulhos, the main international airport serving the city. Most flights from Europe or the US arrive in the early morning or late at night, which means crossing the city. Unless of course you’re staying in the city itself. Either way we’d suggest that you take a metered taxi from the airport.

If you’re coming from somewhere else in Brazil, then the chances are that you’ll arrive directly into Congonhas Airport, where LABACE is being held.

There are several absolute joys when visiting Brazil.It’s an often used cliche that the Brazilians like to party, but they also like to eat as well. Cake for breakfast is one our favorite things about visiting the country, as are massive steaks.

You won’t strictly need to learn any Portuguese to get by in Brazil, but it doesn’t hurt. Our resident Portuguese speaker points out that the letter H is pronounced as a Y, which might come in handy when trying to catch a taxi to the airport for the show.

NBAA – Various locations, USA

The NBAA is the granddaddy of the all. It is by far the largest of all the shows, but unlike the others, it rotates through three different cities.

Fortunately the event will take place again in Orlando this year. We say fortunately as last year it was held in Las Vegas, and the list of do’s and don’t for Vegas is as long as the main airport’s runway.

To adapt a line from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, the Orange Country Convention Centre where the NBAA is held is big, really big. It also has a north entrance and a south entrance, and walking from one side to the other gets a bit monotonous. Being Orlando, it’s also normally rather warm.

Unlike the the other shows, the static display of aircraft is in a completely different location to the main exhibition halls, so it’s necessary to catch a shuttle bus, or taxi, between the two. Whilst it only take around 20 minutes to get between the two, it can get annoying as you’ll need to plan your time according, insuring that you don’t schedule meetings in both locations straight after each other. In practical terms we normally find it best to concentrate on one location on one day, and then the next the following day, but of course that’s not always possible.

The great thing about the NBAA is that it’s the show throughout the whole year that everybody wants to go to, and as such, it’s a great meeting place. The social scene at the show is also lively, and it’s not unusual to hop between parties in the evening. Fortunately Orlando itself is relatively small, but don’t make the mistake of deciding to go into the city centre if you have some spare time, as not only is it tiny, but there’s also very little there.

The exception to this is when the local Orlando Magic basketball team are playing. With the Amway Centre just by the city centre, the area is busy with sports fans stopping off on the way to the game for some liquid refreshment, and then drowning their sorrows after the game has finished. If you’ve never been to a basketball game before, Orlando is a great opportunity to do so, and although your hotel concierge can help you secure tickets, it’s always much cheaper to look online for ticket returns.

Orlando is, of course, home to a certain mouse, and it’s hard to escape Disney, even if you try. There are other attractions in town as well. The last time the NBAA was in town Corporate Jet Investor ended up a man down, as a certain somebody had decided to take the day off and go to Harry Potter World …