The 5th Annual CEPA Expo was held on 19th ‐20th November and hosted key industry figures from across the globe as well as local, senior government officials. The aim of the congress was to build bridges between East and Western Europe and to help shape the future of business aviation.
The event was being held at Prague Castle for the first time after the organisers chose the venue to reflect the status that the event has gained since its inception in 2010.
Business Aviation organisation, Central European Private Aviation (CEPA), is the only aviation body to have held its conference in the historic Prague Castle, located in the heart of the city.
Leading figures from all of the business aviation organisations were present for the first time at the Expo with Fabio Gamba, European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), Doug Carr, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Kurt Edwards, International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and Pete Bunce, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) making key note speeches. The main aircraft manufacturers including Gulfstream, Bombardier, Embraer, Dassault, Beechcraft, Cessna and Honeywell were supporting the event. For the first time Helicopters were featured at the show with manufacturer, Bell Helicopters in attendance.
Patrick Moulay, Vice President, Europe and Russia of Bell Helicopters told the conference that 80% of Bell’s total customers owned a fixed wing aircraft, 15% of its aircraft were in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the countries with the largest fleets were Poland and Ukraine.
He added that the number of units in the area had doubled in the last ten years and that the aircraft were much older in the region, providing a huge opportunity for aircraft sales. This point was echoed by David Vandenberg of Bombardier. Phil Brockwell, Director of Centreline Air Charter, moderated a panel on Operating Cost Control, Fleet upgrading and Charter. One of the main points arising from this panel, which included Bernhard Fragner of Globe Air, was that addressing the costs associated with crew remains one of the key issues for operators.
CEPA Chairman, Roger Whyte said “It is incredible to see how successful the Expo has been this year and the quality and calibre of the people that have been drawn to Prague and its beautiful castle. These people have come because they see the value of doing business in the CEE and recognise the skill and education of the people they could employ within their organisations. The impact of the Eastern Ukraine unrest is being managed well and there is an air of positivity surrounding the hopes for the future of the industry here.” CEPA Founder, Dagmar Grossmann added “I am extremely proud to have been involved with this event and for us to have made history by holding it in such a unique venue”.
Financial institutions, Insurance companies and Avionics providers were just some of the other industry related organisations who were there.