Aviation Managers Spread Their Wings in Berlin

The Berlin Air Show (ILA) is underway again as the sector prepares to take off again after the global financial downturn. According to industry projections, major airlines will go back into the black again this year.

The 100th Berlin Air Show has attracted a record number of exhibitors this year with more than 40 percent coming from abroad.

Over 1,150 industry representatives from nearly 50 countries are
presenting all manner of planes, helicopters, rotors, motors and other
technology through to June 13.

The ILA is also hosting some 100 conferences attended by delegates from politics, business, defence and research.

“The whole industry is in Berlin,” said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, chief executive of German flag carrier Lufthansa, Europe’s top airline in terms of passenger numbers.

The event opened on Tuesday amid favorable forecasts for the global air industry. The International Air Transport
Association (IATA), which is also meeting this week in the German
capital, projected that the sector would achieve full year profits of
almost 2.1 billion euros ($US 2.5 billion) worldwide. This would be the
first time the industry has turned a profit since 2007.

Just three months ago, IATA was predicting a loss of over 2.3
billion euros ($US 2.8 billion). IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani said on
Monday thatthe global economy was improving more quickly than anyone expected, boosting traffic and yields sharply.

Along with their optimistic global projections, IATA has, however,
expressed fears that the weak euro and the disruption caused by the
volcanic ash clouds could clip the wings of growth in Europe.

“In Europe people are happy to be flying again, but both business
and individual travelers are very price conscious,” aviation expert
Cord Schellenberg told Deutsche Welle.

“Thriftiness is a goal here. In Asia status is still very important.
People there still want to fly first class and business class.”

Big order for Airbus
The body organizing the ILA, the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), struck an upbeat note at the opening of the Berlin Air Show.
“We are expecting an optimistic and dynamic ILA,” said Thomas Enders,
who serves as both BDLI president and the head of aircraft maker Airbus.

Bullish international forecasts ahead of the ILA already appear to
be coming to fruition. On the show’s very first day, Airbus landed a
record order from Dubai-basedairline Emirates.

The leading Middle Eastern carrier announced it would be purchasing
32 more Airbus A380 super-jumbo aircraft, worth some 9.6 billion euros
(US$11 billion). The deal takes the number of A380s ordered by Emirates
to 90.

“The ILA has already sent a very strong signal,” said Schellenberg.
“But it is not very surprising that this signal has come from Emirates.
They come from a region that has completely different money reserves
and growth prospects than in Europe,” added the aviation expert. “It is
also a very clever piece of PR by Emirates. There is not so much
competition here as at the other European shows.”