1975 : THE BIRTH OF AAD
The Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) Expo was born from the Aerospace Africa civilian exhibition that originates from the 1975 Lanseria Air Show and the DEXSA military exhibition.
The first in the series of aviation exhibitions titled “Aviation Africa,” was initiated by the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) and World Airnews and was held at Lanseria Airport in October 1975.
A TRADE EXPO AND AN AIR SHOW
The event comprised both a trade exhibition and an air show.
During the trade exhibition, companies in the aviation industry were able to showcase their products in an indoor exhibition area, book hospitality chalets and display their aircraft in a static aircraft park.
The air show was open to the public and offered members of the general public the opportunity a close-up of international aircraft.
1995: THE CELEBRATION OF THE SAAF ’75 EXPO
In 1995 the AMD organised the hugely successful SAAF ’75 Expo in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the South African Air Force (SAAF), which is the second oldest air force in the world.
1998: CAASA AND AMD JOIN HANDS TO FORM AEROSPACE AFRICA
Following the year-on-year growth of the event and the phenomenal success of the SAAF ’75 Expo, there was an increasing demand for an expanded military exhibition and air show.
In 1998, the two trade associations – the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) and the Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association of South (AMD) – joined hands to meet this demand and changed the name of the event to “Aerospace Africa”.
They also relocated the event to a new venue, at the Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof in Centurion. The amalgamation with AMD led to a greater military influence and the event grew exponentially, with 254 trade exhibitors from 21 countries.
2000: THE FORMATION OF AFRICA AEROSPACE & DEFENCE
In 2000, Aerospace Africa was combined with another major event, the biennial DEXSA (Defence Exhibition of South Africa) (also see DEXSA history) to form Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD).
The event was jointly hosted by the AMD, the Armament Corporation of South Africa (Armscor), and CAASA, with substantial support from the National Government and the Department of Defence (DOD) as well as the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
The result was the establishment of the most comprehensive civil and military aerospace and defence-related show ever held on the African continent. At the event, the SAAF also celebrated its 80th anniversary with an Air Tattoo.
RECORD NUMBERS BY 2004
By 2004, the AAD Expo attracted over 428 exhibitors, which were made up of 194 direct exhibitors and 234 indirect exhibitors. These exhibitors came from 25 countries. A total of 52 delegations representing 37 countries visited the event.
THE COMING OF AGE OF THE AAD IN 2006
By 2006, the AAD has truly come of age and it was held at the AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town for the first time, from 20-24 September 2006.
More than 22 000 people registered for the trade exhibition on the three trade days, with 120 000 visiting the air show on the two public days
DEFENCE MINISTERS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS ATTEND AAD2008
The AAD2008 was held at AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town again from 17-21 September 2008 (AAD2008) and it attracted significant numbers of participants.
Almost 80 officially invited foreign delegations attended AAD2008, including 20 defence ministers, many from African countries. Some 13 000 trade visitors provided the 400 exhibitors from 35 countries with the opportunity to market their products to the African continent.
2010: THE FINAL HOSTING OF THE AAD EXPO IN CAPE TOWN
Having sold out months before opening day (21 -25 September 2010 ) 2010 bid Ysterplaat farewell on a high with 350 direct exhibitors and 150 indirect exhibitors from 31 countries around the world.
13 000 trade visitors flocked to the show during the first three days of the trade exhibition, with a record number of 80 000 plus members of the public attending on the air show on the two public days.
There were also 77 participating aircraft (civil and military planes), with 61 high-level delegations from 16 countries that were on ministerial, chief of defence or chief of services level.
THE AAD EXPO RETURNS TO CITY OF TSHWANE IN 2012
The AAD2012 returned to the AFB Waterkloof in the City of Tshwane from 19 to 21 September.
The trade exhibition attracted more than 40,000 trade visitors from 28 countries, 120 visiting delegations and 84 aircraft.
The air show was attended by more than 92 983 members of the public.