History of the ACPC
The Air Carriers Purchasing Conference, known throughout the industry as the ACPC, was founded in 1956 by a group of individuals working for smaller airlines called Regional Airlines. They felt the ATA Purchasing Conference was not addressing their needs and founded what was then called, the Regional Air Carriers Purchasing Conference. They structured a conference to include the smaller, regional airlines, and planned the meeting to address topics which were aimed at the problems and issues facing the smaller airlines and their short haul markets. This conference provided a platform in which to discuss areas of interest and concern with the suppliers of the industry.
As the attendance slowly grew from the supplier side, the airline attendance stabilized. Well into the 1980’s, the conference was small enough to be held in cities such as Hershey, PA, Durango, CO, Lake Tahoe, NV and Hilton Head, SC. In the mid 1980’s, a decision was made to invite the larger airlines, and the name of the conference was changed to the Air Carriers Purchasing Conference, the ACPC.
The name was changed and the airlines mix changed, however, the idea of making this conference meaningful and beneficial remained. Today’s airline mix includes all the airlines of the world, both foreign and domestic, along with the regional airlines of today.
The structure of the ACPC is primarily a networking meeting. The conference provides both a business and social agenda, and with this mix, everyone has the opportunity to develop relationships, as well as learn concepts that will aid them in everyday decisions.
The business side of the conference offers numerous breakout sessions dealing in issues critical to our industry, in addition to new ideas and concepts that will enlighten individuals to become more effective on the job. We offer a forum called Roundtable Sessions, which are ten minute meetings, scheduled over eight hours, that enable suppliers to schedule and meet with, one on one, the airline attendees of their choice. These meetings are the core ingredients that have made the conference so successful for 66 years. In 2001, the ACPC added a venue called the Aviation Networking Forum. This forum provides the opportunity for Suppliers to rent a table at a nominal cost. The purpose was to create an environment to meet and greet Airlines and other Suppliers in a one-day trade show venue. All tables are uniform and rules are strictly enforced to provide a “fair playing field” for all participants. In 2013, the ACPC added a new venue called “Meet & Greet” designed for suppliers to set appointments with other suppliers and airlines to discuss business opportunities in an informal and relaxed setting.
The advantage of attending this conference for the airlines, is the ability to meet more than 700 supplier companies in one setting. An airline attendee can meet more suppliers in the four days of the conference than they would have time to see in their office in an entire year. They also have the opportunity to meet their peers from other airlines and discuss issues, which are of interest and develop relationships that may prove vital in solving everyday problems.
Suppliers have the opportunity to meet airline representatives from all over the world. They take advantage of the low conference fee and introduce their company to airlines that may be too costly to travel to. Suppliers also have the opportunity to meet other companies that might be developed as potential customers.
The only authorized hospitality suite is the ACPC official hospitality suite, which is open each day during the conference. Business lunches are served on Monday and Tuesday, and include speakers relevant to our industry, as well as speakers that entertain. There is a Saturday Welcome Reception, a Sunday Night Dinner Reception and a Monday night banquet with entertainment. All the functions at the ACPC provide an atmosphere that nurtures friendships, strengthens business and gives everyone the opportunity to develop relationships.