That was several hours of my life I will never get back — booking airline, rental car, and a series of hotel rooms… and then cancelling all of them! Drat!
Yet my frustration in scuttling travel plans to attend and work Aero Friedrichshafen is minor compared to the effort by the people running Aero and the 700 vendors that all must now change their plans. Even noting this does not count the hundreds of small businesses from gas stations to restaurants to hotels and more that will suffer sharp revenue losses, possibly resulting in many jobs being terminated.
What a mess!
Not Just China’s Problem
“As Head of Aero Friedrichshafen, I have experienced many situations during the last 30 years which have affected the global economy and the aerospace industry in a negative way,” started Roland Bosch, the longtime leader of this very popular European airshow. “But never before has an incident had such a strong impact on the global economy like the new coronavirus.
He also noted, “I always believed in the saying: There is no total safety. There are only various levels of uncertainty.”
For a couple weeks, I have received several calls from companies in Europe — more specifically, it turns out, they were all from or have business in Italy. These folks expressed concerns, which grew to deeper doubts, and finally to full conviction that the show would be canceled or postponed. It turns out they were correct.
As anyone following the news should know, Italy has been hit harder than most (along with Iran, South Korea, and of course, China). The country took the major step of closing all schools. (Japan has since done likewise.) My journalist friend, Marino Boric who speaks to many Italian companies, reported that busy streets and business centers are eerily quiet. “Hardly a car is moving where traffic is normally very heavy,” reported Marino.
“Thanks for the support of Aero Friedrichshafen,” concluded Roland. “In aviation we have to stick together in tough times, therefore I hope that you remain a loyal partner for the upcoming editions of the show.”
Since Aero was only postponed, not canceled, the staff at Aero are probably now scrambling to determine when next to try scheduling the event. A million details await them; I don’t relish their jobs. Yet first things first — the darn coronavirus has to be seen in clear decline before it even makes sense to reschedule.
Sun ‘n Fun 2020?
I called Sun ‘n Fun boss, John “Lites” Leenhouts, to find out what might happen to another show scheduled for exactly the same week. “We’re still on,” he confirmed!
“We have coordinated with the state of Florida, and with big tourist attractions like Disney, SeaWorld, and others about the right strategy,” said Lites on our call. “We want to ensure the safest possible environment for our guests. We will have extra hand sanitizer everywhere. Our medical staff has been briefed; we will help to remove any sick guests and get them help.”
Here is the essence of Sun ‘n Fun’s official response:
“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 [to assure] the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority.
“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 3,500 volunteers, and dedicated response teams will be standing by to quickly clean up spills, trash, and other potential hazards. Regular sanitizing of restrooms and food prep areas will also be performed.
“The best practices of scientific and health resources are being followed as we prepare for our 2020 event. At a recent World Health Organization press conference, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, ‘Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumors and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity,’” concluded Sun ‘n Fun.
All my plans have changed from attending Aero to focusing completely on Sun ‘n Fun.
Some Good News…
We are expecting some aircraft you’ve never seen at Sun ‘n Fun. Videoman Dave and I will be onsite to cover every aircraft of interest to you readers. Stick with us. ByDanJohnson.com will not be affected by the coronovirus. 😎