Despite a tough year, members of Wichita's general aviation industry are headed to Orlando, Fla., this week for the world's largest business aviation show.
They will meet with customers and potential customers and show off their products and services.
This year's National Business Aviation Association's convention, however, will be more subdued, and no blockbuster announcements are expected.
The show opens Tuesday and runs through Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center and the Orlando Executive Airport.
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On Monday, companies will hold briefings with the media. This evening, Honeywell Aerospace will release its annual business jet forecast.
Last year's show attracted a record 1,100 exhibitors and about 30,000 attendees. About 1,000 exhibitors are signed up for this year's show.
"It should be a very worthwhile show," said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. "I think what we hope to underscore is how essential business aviation is to companies that need to be efficient and productive, and to communities that need the kind of economic development and access that business aviation provides."
This year, with the downturn in the industry, Cessna Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft have scaled back their presence to cut costs. Neither will have its typical massive exhibits inside the convention center.
As in years past, however, they will display their lineup of products at the static display at the Orlando Executive Airport.
Bombardier Aerospace will continue to have displays at both places this year. Vice president and general manager David Coleal said the company will come to Orlando with a "great arsenal of products."
"We have a lot of new, exciting features; we're doing a lot of exciting things," Coleal said. "We hope the market responds."
NBAA helps to generate excitement and awareness in general aviation and helps companies with brand recognition, he said.
"We see these as important milestones of the year," Coleal said.
Cessna won't announce new products this year. And while it will still be trying to sell airplanes, "we are not going in with any expectation of coming home with lots of orders," said Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton.
The company's only expectation "is that we continue to foster our relationships with our existing customers," Pelton said.
Hawker Beechcraft scaled back its participation at the show to reduce costs. But attending NBAA is important, said CEO Bill Boisture.
It shows the company's support of NBAA and the agendas the industry is involved in, he said.
"We have two big voices in the government process in Washington," Boisture said. One is the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, he said, the other is the NBAA.
Otherwise, when asked what he's expecting from this year's show, Boisture replied, "Not much."
Some companies will be absent. Spirit AeroSystems, for example, decided not to exhibit or attend this year.
Smaller companies involved in Wichita's aviation industry also will be at the show, either as exhibitors or attendees.
PWI in Wichita doesn't always exhibit. But it will this year.
It wants to publicize its LED lighting systems and other products to manufacturers and modification shops.
While the market for new planes is down, many people are refurbishing the aircraft they have.
"This is where we come in with our lighting systems," said PWI's head of sales, Don Cantwell.
"We've got a lot of things to say and a lot of things to show."