The main themes of EBACE


The flood seemed overwhelming. Well over 100 press releases and announcements were made at EBACE this year (you do wonder why so many people wait until the show) and just keeping up with them is difficult. But when you add in the discussions with well over 100 people, it can be hard at times to recall what actually happened. So here are the key themes (and for no reason at all, they all begin with the letter C):


The US business aviation market is performing extremely well. Demand is not yet as strong in Europe, the Old Continent, but there is a lot of confidence that the US is pulling the whole market up.

As Michael Amalfitano, president of Embraer Executive Jets, said: “There is a real feeling that there has never been a better time to buy a business jet.”

Confidence is, of course, easily lost, and the biggest threat could just be starting. Global trade is an important driver of large jet sales. Trade Wars are not good for jet sales.


The launch of the Bombardier Global 5500 and Global 6500, with new Rolls-Royce Pearl engines, shows how manufacturers are still gunning for each other (by the way it is pronounced Fifty-five Hundred not Five Thousand Five Hundred and so on).

But this was a common theme across the show. Despite 10 tough years, few companies have exited the market (and ones that have closed have nearly always been replaced by new entrants). Competition is as fierce as ever.

Away from the party-fuelled optimism, several people – including operators and financiers – admitted that things are still tough. Margins are still narrow across many parts of the industry.

One solution to raise margins is by cutting costs — and this year saw a number of new companies such as AVIAA and Convolus launching platforms purporting to offer economies of scale to operators through bulk purchasing. Luxaviation is also planning to offer this service to rivals.


With many jet passengers now addicted to their phones it is no surprise that connectivity was a key theme. Many suppliers are now working on fitting kit on smaller aircraft.


Owning and operating an aircraft in Europe continues to be complicated (and Brexit may well not help). Gulfstream and TAG Aviation were just some of the companies aiming to make ownership simpler.


Without a shadow of doubt, the biggest topic of conversation at EBACE continued to be the cost of staying in Geneva. And it will no doubt continue to be the same next year.