Game-changing technologies, the debut of all-new aircraft, groundbreaking solutions for sustainable flight and exciting market opportunities were all centre stage for one of the most consequential editions of the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) to date.
“At EBACE, we saw how business aviation is reinventing the very technology of flight to take on new missions, serve new customers and connect the world sustainably,” says European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) chairman Juergen Wiese. “For decades, our industry has pioneered breakthroughs to fly not only further but more efficiently, and at EBACE we accelerated our incredible pace of innovation.”
With a drumbeat of announcements from aircraft manufacturers, the show featured the unveiling of Textron Aviation's new Cessna Citation Ascend and the EBACE debut of Airbus Corporate Jets' ACJ TwoTwenty, Bombardier's Challenger 3500 and Gulfstream's G800 aircraft.
“We saw amazing new aircraft announced and debuted, designed to meet the needs of an evolving global business marketplace,” says National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president and CEO Ed Bolen. "We had a first-hand look at the fuels, propulsion systems and technologies that will lead to net-zero flight. We were inspired by the trailblazers in our industry who are championing teamwork and inclusion. EBACE showed us all that is possible today and how our shared vision will shape tomorrow.”
The show opened with a blockbuster keynote with Formula One powerhouse duo Toto and Susie Wolff. The global superstars in racing, business and philanthropy wowed a standing-room only crowd with stories of leadership and continuous learning. The two extolled the shared aims of racing and business aviation, pointing to parallels for safety, sustainability, technical excellence, diversity and high performance.
EBACE2023 featured a full and bustling exhibit floor, a sold-out aircraft display and packed sessions on the show floor, including in the new sustainability theatre. Held at the Palexpo convention centre and adjacent Geneva airport, the annual event was co-hosted by the NBAA and EBAA.
Throughout the week, the show reflected a spirit of optimism and opportunity:
- In a first-of-its-kind panel on the show's media day, CEOs from the top aircraft manufacturers shared their investments in low-emissions technologies and united goal of decarbonising business aviation.
- EASA executive director Patrick Ky and former FAA administrator Michael Huerta, who serves on the boards of Joby and Delta Air Lines, talked with advanced air mobility (AAM) developers. With leaders promising certification and the first commercial flights by 2024, and several AAM aircraft displayed on the show floor, EBACE affirmed the new mode of air transport will soon become a reality.
- The production and use of SAF was promoted with a sold-out supply at Geneva for the show week, availability of the fuel at select US airports with EBACE-bound flights, and an EBACE Book and Claim option at a US airport where the fuel is not present.
- Carbon emissions from all attendee travel to and from the show, and from the 22 hotels and the shuttle buses used for EBACE, were offset by carbon credits provided through a partnership with 4Air. A record number of exhibitors signed the EBACE Exhibitor Sustainability Pledge, making this year's convention perhaps the most sustainable ever.
- The Tuesday keynote session also included SolarStratos CEO Raphaël Domjan, the visionary pilot whose solar-powered aircraft, capable of flights into the stratosphere, could reshape the very definition of aviation.
- A newsmakers series brought together leaders from government, industry and philanthropy on transforming aviation's most pressing challenges into its most promising opportunities. In one newsmakers session on sustainable propulsion, engineers reported on testing hybrid-electric and 100 per cent SAF-powered aircraft, nearly ready for commercialisation.
- A three-day Sustainability Summit convened experts to detail the many ways entrepreneurs and companies are making the sector ever-more sustainable on the ground and in the air.
- This year's Career Day, with dozens of students in attendance, kicked off with Mack Rutherford, the youngest person to fly solo around the world. After Rutherford discussed his advice for reaching ever-higher altitudes in life, the students were provided with peer-to-peer learning opportunities and a tour of the exhibit floor and aircraft display.
This year's EBACE was dedicated to the memory and legacy of Athar Husain Khan, the secretary-general of EBAA, lost this year, whose passion for business aviation and belief in human connection was present during the entire show.
EBACE will return to Palexpo and Geneva airport next year from 28-30 May, 2024.