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Friedrichshafen - the home base of Europe's general aviation celebrates its birthday. In April 2017 (5th-8th), AERO will embark on its 25th anniversary flight.

As Europe's leading trade show for general aviation, AERO also enjoys a strong international reputation. At Lake Constance, manufacturers and companies of the general aviation sector will be displaying their latest products and innovations, covering the entire range from gliders and ultralights to business jets.

Members of the supply chain will also be among the exhibitors. AERO Friedrichshafen has become an annual "must-attend" event for over 600 international exhibitors and 33,000 visitors, including pilots, aviation experts and journalists. The public will see world firsts and European firsts, with about 700 journalists from around the world reporting on new developments in aviation:

"AERO is general aviation's showcase for innovations and new products, and the close proximity between exhibition grounds and airport also gives our venue a major advantage", says AERO project director Roland Bosch.

Siemens piston aircraft

With a special e-flight flying display and the e-flight expo, the focus on electric aircraft will be even stronger and more comprehensive than before. Attention will also be given to other special theme areas such as Avionics Avenue, the Engine Area and the UAS Expo/AERODrones for civilian drones and unmanned aircraft. With its broad, comprehensive range and the many new and innovative products that exhibitors have announced for the show, AERO is one of the world's most important general aviation trade shows.

AERO first began with gliders in 1977. Supported by a booming ultralight aircraft sector, the trade show grew at a tremendous rate. In recent years, the Business Aviation segment also enjoyed significant growth. AERO now covers the industry's complete spectrum and is one of the world's most important trade shows for general aviation, which includes all flying machines except for military aircraft and large airliners.

Around 600 exhibitors from 28 countries will occupy more than 80,000 m2 of exhibition space at Friedrichshafen's trade show grounds, representing the full range of general aviation. Major focus will be on business jets, single and twin-engine airplanes, light jets, sports aviation, with an extensive range of gliders and ultralights. As well as this will be the exhibition of avionics, aircraft maintenance and other services, and pilot supplies. According to trade fair surveys, the typical AERO visitor is a highly qualified professional seeking new technologies, products and industry contacts. More than half of all AERO visitors hold one or more pilot licenses.

1977: Launch with 14 exhibitors

AERO Friedrichshafen first began as a part of the regional motorsports exhibition RMP. In 1977, that trade show included for the first time some 14 exhibitors who presented gliders and pilot supplies. Audience response was much stronger than organizers expected. Ernst Haller, the former CEO of Messe Friedrichshafen, was the initiator of the first aviation trade show. Roland Bosch, the current AERO project director came on board in 1988 and has continued to develop it.

Rapid rise

At the time, Europe had no comparable trade show for general aviation, so exhibitor numbers immediately doubled in the second year. Further years saw steady growth in the number of exhibitors and visitors, with continual two-digit percentage increases. By the mid-80s, AERO had exceeded RMF in both size and importance. Because of its international significance, AERO was added to the UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, in 1985.

1993: First stand-alone AERO

It was only a matter of time before AERO separated from its "mother trade fair" and continued forwards as a stand-alone aviation event. The jump to becoming a full-blown trade fair happened in 1993. The success of AERO Friedrichshafen has depended not only on its strategic concept as a trade show specifically tailored to the needs of general aviation and with a clearly defined target group, but also on Friedrichshafen's reputation as a cradle of aviation. The early days saw major aircraft builders such as Zeppelin, Dornier, Kober and Maybach manufacturing their airships, seaplanes, engines and airplanes here at Lake Constance, thus establishing the image and expertise of Messe Friedrichshafen in all aspects of aviation.

International corporations such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce Power Systems, Dornier, ZF, Zeppelin Metallwerke and Zeppelin Luftschiffbau all have roots in Friedrichshafen, and operate today as leaders in the aviation industry and other high-tech areas. The year 2012 saw a major anniversary in this field: 100 years of seaplane construction at Lake Constance.

Meeting place for the General Aviation community

While AERO had already established an international presence in sports aviation by the early 1980s, increased activities led to new growth areas in the 1990s. This has resulted in strong expansion for the trade show in recent years, especially in avionics, aircraft maintenance and other services, as well as business aviation. In the global market for general aviation, AERO has become a major meeting place for the industry.

2002: Move to new exhibition site

Another significant turning point in AERO's development was the move of Messe Friedrichshafen to its new facilities in 2002, right next to the airport. The new site has a much better infrastructure, offering excellent opportunities for the aviation trade show to develop and expand.

AERO right at the airport

Today, AERO is one of the few aviation trade shows worldwide that can boast an ultramodern exhibition facility with next-door airport access. Exhibitors can taxi their airplanes from the runway right into the exhibition halls, using a purpose-built road that provides direct access to the airport facilities. Right next to the halls there is a static display area for business aircraft.


Read more about: AERO Friedrichshafen | International Trade Show

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