By Ryszard Jaxa-Malachowski,
AWN Central European correspondent
BERLIN - The ILA 2000 Berlin Air Show has entered a new era.
Held last week at Schonefeld Airport, this event has taken on increasing importance in the aerospace industry due largely to the current state of reorganization among the European aviation companies.
Interest was heightened at this year's event with the very first appearance of the European joint aviation consortium (EADS) and the take off of the Airbus military transport project (see related story).
ILA essentially became the first showcase event for EADS, which proved to be a boost to the show. Some speculated that ILA would become to EADS what Farnborough is for BAE Systems and the UK aerospace companies.
In fact, the two aerospace events now compete more directly with each other on the calendar as well, with Farnborough now scheduled just six weeks after the Berlin show.
Rainer Heitrich, CEO of DASA and soon-to-be EADS, told AWN that the consortium would like to see all three events (ILA, Farnborough, Paris) taking place in a three-year sequence.
There is a strong need for the German government to support ILA to increase its size and importance. It is expected that EADS will strongly try to introduce this idea, although this could be to the detriment of Farnborough.
The Europeans did present a rather united front on the A3XX issue. Strong support from all sides was evident at the show, and there was anticipation that Airbus would choose the ILA stage to formally launch the superjumbo airliner.
However, this was not to be the case. Although the A3XX did receive interest from some important companies during the show - International Lease Finance Corp and Virgin Atlantic - the Airbus supervisory board canceled a planned meeting June 8. The point of contention was apparently the partners' inability to agree upon where assembly of the A3XX would occur.
Airbus says another meeting on the A3XX launch is planned for the near future. Speculation again has Farnborough as the likely site of the A3XX launch.
The Berlin event also plays an important role in the development of East-West relations. There is significant participation among companies from the CIS and Central Europe. In fact, their numbers here can be compared only with much the larger Paris Air Show.
The ILA this year was the biggest ever with 941 exhibitors from 38 countries and more than 300 aircraft present.