AERO Friedrichshafen, the big German sport aviation expo, announced yesterday that it is postponing the event, which had originally been scheduled for April 1-4. It’s the first major general aviation event to announce a postponement. This morning we spoke to an official at Sun ‘n Fun, the big Lakeland, Florida, spring fling, which opens on March 30, and got its current plans, as well: At this point, it’s full speed ahead for Sun ‘n Fun.
Not so with Aero. “The current situation with the coronavirus has resulted in a nasty domino effect,” says Klaus Wellmann, the event’s managing director.
Wellmann said that the decision was arrived at in concert with exhibitors, which underscores the widespread concern about the impact, presumably both in terms of people’s health but also related to the high costs of exhibiting at a show that might be canceled or that might be poorly attended. “The industry members of the general aviation community also see the health and economic risks of the upcoming trade fair as too high. We share this assessment, but it is with a heavy heart that we now need to take this serious step together.”
Aero organizers are issuing refunds in some cases, and they will honor existing tickets for the event at the new date, which has not yet been determined. Visit the event’s official site for updates.
Sun ‘n Fun
Officials at Sun ‘n Fun told Plane & Pilot that they were keeping a close watch on the situation, and said they were working closely with other Florida agencies both private and governmental in their monitoring of ongoing coronavirus concerns. Airshow director Greg Gibson said that “SUN ’n FUN is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event with appropriate precautions and safeguards in place. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for large events and festivals, we are proceeding with SUN ’n FUN 2020 with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority.”
He added that there are specific steps the event organizers will take in light of the COVID-19 virus, “Currently, we are taking the following actions on-site: provision of disinfectant wipes and spray, hand sanitizer for restrooms, common area spaces and activity spaces, microphone wipe downs, and outreach to all meeting spaces, venues, and hotels. We are providing training for over 3500 volunteers, and dedicated response teams will be standing by to quickly clean up spills, trash and other potential hazards.”
Check back with Plane & Pilot for the latest news on this fast breaking story.
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