Business Aviation Networking British Style

 

Texan born Samuel Cody motored into the skies above Farnborough, England in 1908, thus officially entering Great Britain into the age of powered flight. 100 years later, the owner of this prestigious airport (Farnborough Airport – EGLF) Techniques d’Avant Garde, known simply as ‘TAG’ opened their world-class VIP hotel ‘The Aviator’ to complement their FBO and Business Aviation Services by TAG Aviation at this London Gateway Airport.

It seems very fitting to me that the historic site of the first powered flight in Great Britain is the location of choice for the bespoke business aviation networking event, that has come to be known in the industry as: ‘The Aviation Supper Club.’

 

160 movers-and-shakers from the business aviation industry gathered from all across the globe: UAE, UK, USA, France, Ireland, Slovakia, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Poland and Russia to attend this 5th Aviation Supper Club event held at the Aviator Hotel on the evening of September 27th, 2012.

Universal Weather & Aviation, Jet Support Services, Barclays Wealth and Execujet Aviation Group were the main sponsors of the event, while others including Signature Flight Support, Synergy Aviation, TAG and SG Equipment Finance donated items for a charity auction that benefited the charity: ‘Flying Scholarships for Disabled People.’ Mr. Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden and who is also an accomplished pilot and business aviation entrepreneur was the auctioneer and after-dinner speaker.

There were no Billionaire Jet Owners or any alphabet Aviation Associations or groups in attendance. Instead, this grassroots networking event is only accessible by people that are actively working within the trenches so-to-speak, of business aviation. The whole intent is to rapidly connect the dots between the doers of this industry through a relaxing but high quality social event. ‘An event born by the industry - for the industry.’ There is no administrative organization that has to be fed and supported by members.industry.’ There is no administrative organization that has to be fed and supported by members. No exhibitors to accommodate and best of all - no buyers/users/clients to bow down to. Instead the atmosphere is 100% relaxed and focused on the people that make business aviation. Pure and simple.  

 
The Aviation Supper Club’s founder is Brendan Lodge, the Business Development Director of JetBrokers Europe and also the current serving Chairman of the Central European Private Aviation (CEPA) organization. Brendan is “Quite delighted by all of the people that apply to attend.” Unfortunately rooms and dinner places are quickly snatched up. “There is always more demand than there are places for people to attend” explains Brendan. “Unfortunately we also need to ensure that a decent balance of disciplines and sectors of business aviation are properly represented at the supper club. It would not be right if there was an imbalance of people from a specific area of our industry; for instance banking or insurance, is not dominant at the event. We want the networking to be a target rich environment for all.”

The 18th Century Champagne House: Veuve Clicquot wetted the lips of all 160 attendees, during the pre-dinner reception which spilled across the Aviator’s Sky Bar and first-floor Landing. New friendships and alliances were made over plates and dishes of salmon, beef, chicken, caviar, elderberries, risottos, pannacottas and coffees. While flights of red and white wines, and Napoleon brandy kept the conversations well juiced. >

Few saw their hotel suites until well past three A.M. It is clear that all who attended then retired to their beds with a firm conviction that their evening was truly spent well.

The Aviation Club meets twice a year. It soon will expand onto mainland Europe in Prague. My colleagues and I are now planning the first event of its kind here in the USA. Coming soon – Aviation Supper Club USA and I am very much looking forward to seeing you attend dear reader.

So until next month; however before then I will see you at the 65th Annual Meeting and Convention of the National Business Aviation Association down in Orlando, Florida, October 30th to November 1st. If you can’t make it there yourself, I will be covering it for you here at Globalair.com.