Air show to see footfalls double this year

Bangalore: What began as Avia-India, a modest display of a few aviation assets in 1993, is now set to be a chartbuster in its modern, sleek avatar. The biennial air show, the biggest in Asia, was renamed Aero India in 1998, and has only become better and popular. It’s among one of the best-attended air shows around the world.
According to statistics given by the organizers – the Department of Defence Production ( DDP) under the ministry of defence – the online request for registration of general visitors this year has already exceeded the 1.75-lakh mark, 1 lakh more than the official 75,000 footfalls in 2009. The organizers are expecting the figure to reach 2.75 lakh, with enquiries and requests not showing any signs of abating.
The growth in Aero India since 1998 to 2005 was marginal. It began showing a quantum increase in the gross exhibition area only from the 2007 edition. While it hovered between the 7,000-18,000 sqm mark from 1998 to 2005, it rose sharply to 30,000 sqm in 2007 and 44,000 sqm in 2009. This year, the organizers have increased the gross area to 75,000 sqm, a significant 70% increase over 2009.
This edition, there are 675 exhibitors, registering a 16% increase over the last edition, that had 581 in all. As with all previous editions, this time around too, international exhibitors score over domestic ones in terms of participation. In 2009, the gap was marginal, 303 against 289. This time, the figure is 380 and 295, a growth of 25% for international exhibitors, against a mere five for domestic exhibitors.
With 30 countries set to participate this year, including India, official representation from 60 countries number 350, a three-fold plus increase in the number of delegates, both official and business, with USA leading with 250, Germany 35, Italy 10, and 35 from remaining countries.
Defence minister A K Antony will formally inaugurate Aero India 2011 today, at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka.
09/02/11 Prashanth G N/Times of India

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