Parlez-vous Français? The International Paris Air Show first opened in 1909 at the Grand Palais in Paris. Today this show represents the world’s largest venue for the industry (and we aren’t talking convention space).  This year’s show will include more than 2,000 exhibitors, 138,000 trade visitors and close to 200,000 public visitors, not to mention the million dollar deals being made during those three days. The UK division of GES, SDD, has been supporting clients at the show for more than 40 years. I’ve been a part of this team for quite some time - notice how I’m not including numbers, so you can’t guess my age!

Luckily for all of us, including myself, the industry has seen some great economic improvements. Most remain cautious because of rising fuel costs. According to the Worldwatch Institute, fuel is the second largest expense. Many companies have cut show budgets by 10% to 30% (the show is still sold out). With a few Paris Air Shows under my belt I feel I have a great sense of what to expect.

A few things attendees will be looking for:

• Efforts on fuel efficiency.

• The usage of alternative fuels.

• Awareness of environmental issues.

• Excitement surrounding the Airbus vs. Boeing competition for progress reports and new sales… Of course I’m trying to be impartial, but go Boeing!

Hard work pays off, but it is just that, hard work. Last week after a year of planning we set up our on-site ‘enclave,’ which will act as our headquarters with everything we need to produce this monumental event.  Defying convention isn’t a term GES’ Global Team takes lightly.

Over the next four weeks our team will:

- Manufacture and outfit exhibits, pavilions, and hospitality chalets for sixteen of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies. 

Chalets (our clients’ corporate headquarters away from home include: Reception and press centers, dining facilities, full kitchens and restrooms, air conditioning, corporate offices, conference centers, product displays, theatres and staff support accommodations. 

Our on-site team: Designers, operations and program managers, AV and telecom experts, transportation coordinators, carpenters, plumbers and electricians.

During the next few weeks, I will share information on the show, set-up progress, environmental initiatives and photos of work as it progresses. For those of you on-site, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

Signing off from the Merrillwood Ranch.