ON TOUR: Business Travel Show in Dusseldorf
Quality, not quantity, was the consensus of opinion among exhibitors and participants attending the second Business Travel Show in Dusseldorf, held at the city's Messe during 7-9 September. The Centaur Exhibitions-backed show, which complements the show in London's Earl Court, saw some 11% more visitors than the previous year, with an increasing number of visitors from Switzerland, the Benelux and Denmark.
The 100-plus exhibitors, which included Ethiad Airways, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Jet2.com, Virgin and Germanwings, had a steady flow of interest. Air Berlin had a strong presence, hard on the heels of its new status as Europe's third largest low cost airline. The DBA brand, prominent in domestic Germany, especially at Munich and Dusseldorf, will become Air Berlin, ”powered by DBA.”
One of the industry's regional airline founding fathers, Gus Boots, founder of Air Bremen, was among the visitors promoting his travel agency First Travel mbb Reisen. He works with Tui and the majority of Germany's airlines and like many observers, expects Air Berlin to become a major force on the European scene. Luxair took the opportunity on its stand it promote its new fleet type. Three Bombardier Q400s join the fleet from April next year and they will be deployed on Luxair's flights to Frankfurt, Saarbruchen and Munich.
Ethiad was promoting its new frequent flyer programme, Guest, launched just last week. Executive jet operator Triple Alpha, returning to the show, highlighted a strong growth in demand in corporate aviation. It has doubled its Citation II and V fleet from four to eight aircraft and from February 2007, gets it first Challenger 300 to manage. It was at the show to network with the prestigious hotel groups exhibiting, looking to cater for demand for ski and spa breaks.
No word on the status of Dusseldorf Monchengladbach Airport, which has been closed to scheduled services for several years now. The last service was by European Air Express which moved its regional services, together with Lufthansa Regional, both carriers refusing to accept an unprecedented proposal from owners Dusseldorf International, to ban on aircraft with less than 50-seats. Subsequently there are plans to expand the 1,200 nm runway and build a new passenger terminal in a bid to attract regular flights again. Also absent was Dusseldorf Weeze Airport, formerly Niederein, served by Ryanair and Sky Airlines.
Highlight of the event was the after show party at Dusseldorf International Airport, with themed food and drink from sponsors China, Australia, the southern states of the USA, Delta, Emirates and DER Travel Solutions. The London Business Travel Show will take place on 13-15 February at Earl's Court.