-What was your impression of the Paris Air Show this year?
After visiting the Paris Air Show this year, I was impressed, to say the least. The scale of this show just never gets old; it’s massive – nearly every aerospace company involved in each and every part of commercial and military flying is there. It has everything from expo halls to large chalets to static and flying displays. This being my second time attending “Le Bourget” with #TeamSC, I knew what to expect — a large show, lots of meetings and plenty of opportunity to network. Over the years I have had the opportunity to attend many air shows and aerospace conferences, but the Paris Air Show is always one of the largest and most impactful.
– What does a typical day at the air show look like?
A typical day at Le Bourget is very busy and involves A LOT of walking! After getting through rush-hour traffic out of Paris, the whole team arrives at the air show around 8:30 each morning. My day is usually a mix of meetings; meetings with existing SC companies, meetings with companies that may be looking to expand into SC, and meetings with international aerospace clusters. For the trade companies exhibiting within the SC booth, their days are filled with meetings with potential and existing customers. The whole group usually leaves the show around 5:30 pm, followed by more traffic getting back into Paris. After a quick refresh at the hotel, we head out to the various receptions where the networking continues; all of which is no easy feat considering the number of trade visitors and exhibitors this year (142,000 trade visitors and 2,381 exhibitors this year according to the Paris Air Show website). A busy week is a successful week!
-What type of businesses or organizations attend the airshow as a part of #TeamSC?
The SC Department of Commerce does a great job of putting together a team that merges their own global business development, international trade, and foreign direct investment with our organization, SC Aerospace, and several of the state’s regional economic development alliances. Add that to our 6 exhibiting SC firms and you have a large team of people who represent the diversity and current landscape of the state’s aerospace cluster. We all come away from the show knowing more about each individual organization, and how it all fits together to uniquely position SC within the global aerospace industry.
–What type of impact can we see or have we seen from the Paris Air Show in the past as a result of our attendance?
I have seen tremendous growth and support from our international visits over time. Being at the air show allows us to touch base with the top c-suite for large aerospace firms like Toray, Boeing, GKN, Lockheed Martin and others. By participating and exhibiting at these events, we have found that companies looking to expand operations or invest in the US are more knowledgeable about our state’s aerospace landscape. From an existing industry perspective, we are hearing how much companies appreciate South Carolina’s efforts to support their operations in our state and from an investment perspective, our exhibiting at shows like these showcase our capabilities as a major aerospace state.
-Would you attend the show in the future?
Yes, I would definitely attend the show in the future! If I had to give this trip a rating, it would be an A+. I think this show [and the Farnborough Air Show] is a great example of how we can work together as a team to really show off all that we have in South Carolina. SC Aerospace and the SC Department of Commerce are currently working together to identify new air shows, expos, and conferences where we can use the same model.