Air Shows and the Value of Convening

By Remy Nathan, Dak Hardwick, David Silver & John Luddy

Airshows are more than an opportunity for manufacturers to show off their latest and greatest products, or pilots to show off their amazing piloting skills. They are a valuable chance for stakeholders from the civil aviation, space, and defense industries to gather and discuss “issues of the day.” 

AIA invests a lot of time at the four major international air shows (Paris, Dubai, Farnborough (UK), and Singapore) to maximize the benefits of these discussions. An airshow allows AIA the chance to convene short, intensive roundtable discussions between members of the travelling U.S. government delegation, military officials and our member companies about the issues that impact the U.S. aerospace and defense industry’s global competitiveness. 

For companies without a significant presence in Washington, D.C., the ability to gain and share insights about the political and economic dynamics affecting their foreign sales and/or their international supply chain adds another level of value to a trip that is primarily focused on networking with their customers and suppliers. For U.S. officials, it is a chance to have a direct, productive conversation with many companies about developments in a specific region or impacts of specific U.S. and foreign trade policies and regulations.

When we all sit down around the table, it is One Team, One Goal: how can U.S. industry and government best collaborate to ensure continued American leadership worldwide? To that end, our civil aviation companies sit down with FAA officials to discuss priority issues such as infrastructure, emerging technologies and innovation.  Our commercial space companies and NASA are always interested in speaking about NASA’s return to the Moon and long-term vision for Mars.  The defense companies and their Department of Defense and U.S. military counterparts focus on strengthening the international supply chain and the interoperability of U.S. forces with those of our allies and partners.  Meanwhile, we also work with the Commerce Department to identify ways to enable companies of every size sustain and grow their global market share.

Most importantly, while these conversations may start at an international air show, they do not end there.  These shows provide a consistent and continuous set of forums for U.S. industry and government to keep up to date and keep striving for every opportunity to enhance the global competitiveness of the U.S. aerospace and defense industry.