‘Before I undertook this work, however, I was not in the Airshow,” says Gareth Rogers, the newly installed boss of Farnborough international limited, which puts on a massive show. “What has changed now, of course.”
Rogers soon speaking to 1500 trade exhibitors, 150 aircraft and 150 000 trade and public visitors descend on the city of Hampshire, as it became the center of the aerospace world for a week-long event.
Construction is in full swing, with footage in the style of hi-viz jackets and helmets passed by, as he says, and the sound of power tools Echo in a newly built permanent exhibition centre at the airport, which occupies a Central place.
Farnborough attracts big names – and aircraft – industry every two years
It is a huge responsibility. “We are the showcase for the global aerospace industry,” he says. “We are building the square theme Park in a small town”.
Rogers ‘ previous job was in the football club Southampton, where he was the youngest chief Executive of the Premier League, taking just 34. He sees the similarity between two completely different worlds.
“They’re more similar than you can imagine,” says Rogers, who has just turned 39. “Both events on the basis of: one puts a sports match, is to put on the biggest UK exhibition. Both boil down to the project organization, making sure it is nice and that people get value for money.”
He admits that while Southampton is not a world giant in the direction of such commands, as “Manchester United” and “real”, the “saints” in the Premier League game “is still watched around the world, making them iconic, and something I also saw in Farnborough”.
Rogers is an Accountant by training – got into football after working at KPMG and Deloitte, when Southampton need short-term chief financial officer, to “hold the Fort”. “I must have done something right because I stayed for many years,” he says.
Previous work Gareth Rogers was CEO of the football club “Southampton”
After six years at the club, which included “two stocks, two European adventures in the Cup final,” says Rogers, it was “time for change”.
He says one of the biggest revelations in the aerospace industry.
“An eye-watering amount of money flowing through the industry,” he says. “Despite all the news about the football and the size of players, football don’t even touch the side of the aerospace industry. There was 124bn $(£94 billion) of deals signed at the recent Farnborough show is incredible.”
The current air show has an unusual business model. It is held every two years, alternating with the show Paris Le Bourget, with each event and that, in turn, the largest in the aerospace calendar. This means that Farnborough effectively spends two years, wind up within seven days show, generating almost £40 million in turnover in a show years and 10pcs in others.
Flying displays Ty to select from Farnborough for many – but real business is done on the ground
Rogers is looking to change that. “The air show is the absolute core of what we do and we create everything around, but why would it be the business is 730 days, not seven times in every two years?” he says.
The key to this is the recently completed exhibition centre £33m. Before Farnborough to use temporary pavilions for the exhibitors, but the house permanent house which is still surrounded by temporary structures for shows opens up opportunities for events throughout the year.
Rogers says he is not considering bringing in any specific industry at Farnborough, but the history of the site show was created in 1948 in the city that is home to the Royal aircraft establishment – there are certain links.
“When you think of Farnborough do you think that the history, engineering, aerospace, pioneering technologies,” he says. “This background is suitable for high-tech companies, innovative companies, the telcos, but we did here in the Tropic the skin care Alan sugar…”
An aerial view shows the scale Farnborugh show
Still, having the runway on the threshold and helps in Farnborough is one of the largest commercial airports in the country and rumor has it that the place is trying to land a helicopter exhibition Helitech.
Accounting Farnborough in mind the industry over the cycle is also important. “We can’t just have the industry thinking, ‘Oh, it’s Farnborough this year round, go all in and then send them away and never talk about it,” says Rogers.
To try and finish this “Finn”, a news channel, was launched. Video-Led, it reports on a year-round sector. “We are trying to create a Finn,” says Rogers. “We use interviews, analysis. You see consumer brands to deliver information and sell themselves so why not us? We can connect to the global aerospace industry for more than seven days.”
He adds that he tries “to change the direction of the industry talks about itself”.
“I understand that it is strictly regulated and often very secretive – but it may be much more modern, how she markets,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about all the wonderful things that happen, and the employment it creates.”
Fighter aerobatic team ‘black arrows’ in the 1959 Farnborough air show
The British aerospace industry is the second largest in the world with £35 billion annual turnover and 123,000 straight man – why last warning Airbus that it might pull out of the UK for the quarter and the month “so much noise,” says Rogers.
Despite the announcement, Airbus, Rogers is confident in the future of the show in the UK out of the EU the UK.
“Aviation is a global market and we are the international Airshow, not European,” he says, pointing out that 71pc of exhibitors at the exhibition. “Airbus this news, but it means that we have no place in the global aerospace market? We are an international aerospace exhibition, why don’t we have a seat?”
His confidence is not quite balanced in the industry. While rival Le Bourget show, receives government support, Farnborough operates independently.
Government Ministers are regular attendees, but aerospace sources say about greater support from political leaders is required to show that the UK is serious about the aerospace industry.
Prime Ministers are the permanent participants of the show
“There are other people out there who see the show more strategically,” says one. “You could see that the industry is voting with his feet in the future.” However, others congratulate Farnborough for what is looking forward, pointing to the “Futures day” stages, when the door is open for young people to attract them to a career in the industry.
One regular complaint Farnborough is the transport for the show. Crowded trains and buses regularly and is an undesirable feature, along with the queues to get inside. It is a question Rodgers agrees and says that he’s trying to fight. “We’re not going to have people at Waterloo making sure that the visitors get on the right trains, and delays in the past our goal has created a system backup, so we try to reduce,” he says. “But where did you get 150,000 people in one place, there will be congestion.”
The biggest draw to the public hoping to see the latest military aircraft through their paces, the giant aircraft in the sky above and a thrilling aerobatics.
Typhoon takes to start a display flight at the Farnborough Airshow
A tragic accident at an Airshow “Shoreham” in 2015 meant a much tighter restrictions on flights displays, and while the famous red arrows will be doing the parades, they can’t put in one of his show’s trademark.
“There are limitations, and we should go with them, but things are changing,” says Rogers.
However, when it comes to the real reason show the existence of trade – he says he “doubts that anyone aerospace signed a deal just because they saw a plane fly at an Airshow”.
Airshow 2016 in the news when the capricious weather I saw on the site was evacuated on the first day. “A month of rain fell in 20 minutes,” says Rogers. He says the show as “well prepared as possible” in each case but such acts of God are difficult to plan.
“I have been closely following the long-term forecast and that is good,” he adds.
The freak weather at 2016 show
And when a freaky weekend, Rodgers said: “it will be a mixture of relief and exhaustion. People keep saying ‘you’re not nervous, but I have to say, ‘no, that’s what we work for two years’”.
Rogers sense enough to renounce to any part of the show that he is looking forward to the most, but the flight in the back seat of one of the red arrows Hawk aircraft – that sometimes offer big and good aerospace world is not an attraction.
“I love to fly,” he says. “I would probably say Yes, because you will never get another chance, but I would have done the flight with tears in his eyes.”