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Virtual networking introduced as Farnborough International’s digital event prepares for take off

Farnborough International Airshow’s digital event to support the aerospace industry, FIA Connect, and which starts 20 July, will have virtual networking as an integral part, organisers have announced.

The digital event has been developed following the cancellation of the traditional biennial UK airshow. 

FIA Connect includes conference programme and Meet the Buyer facility and now, also, the opportunity to network. The live airshow traditionally brings a global audience together on an unprecedented scale for a week of meetings, so although virtual networking is, for the most part, a new experience for many, it will help plug a big gap in the industry’s calendar. Organisers have also published a guide advising participants how to make the most of the virtual networking opportunity. 

In the first instance, participants complete a personal profile including a photo. They then search for companies to ‘meet’ using a search function and filters. Once a company is found, participants can request a video call or send a message. If a meeting request is successful an email confirms the date and time, and a link to a video call.

Joe Muir, Farnborough International’s aerospace commercial director, says: “We recognised it was important to be realistic about what could be successfully provided as part of FIA Connect. Networking is a major part of the airshow and we hope that creating a platform to facilitate it will be of real value to the industry. 

“Nothing quite compares with meeting face-to-face but during these challenging and unusual times enabling participants to converse easily is important as businesses look towards recovery and growth.”

FIA Connect will kick off on Monday 20 July with an industry leaders’ roundtable featuring the CEOs of Airbus, BAE Systems, Leonardo and Meggitt.

A full conference schedule, developed by FINN – the Farnborough International News Network – will broadcast throughout the week with industry and government representatives including the Rt. Hon. Grant Schapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport. 

FIA Connect will also mark the second edition of the Global Urban Air Summit, a conference launched last year as part of Farnborough International’s move to broaden its roster of events using its Hall 1 facility. 

The digital FIA Connect event takes place on the dates the airshow proper should have taken place, were it not for the coronavirus. Organisers took the decision to cancel the 2020 live show back in March. It is set to return in 2022.