Long time AMDA Foundation CEO retires - new CEO selected

AMDA Foundation Limited, globally recognised for the delivery of Australia’s largest international aviation, defence and industry expositions, announces that long-serving Chief Executive Ian Honnery will retire at the end of March, after leading the foundation and its predecessor organisations for nearly five decades since their inception.

“At the age of 75 it is time for me to hand over to a new generation of leadership, who will build on and advance the organisation’s achievements and success,” Mr. Honnery said.

AMDA Foundation Board Chair, Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie (Ret) AO, announced that the board has selected prominent aviation business leader and current Avalon Airport CEO, Justin Giddings, as Ian Honnery’s successor.

“The AMDA Foundation board believes Justin Giddings has the experience, vision and drive to pick up where Ian Honnery leaves off and to ensure the continued success of AMDA Foundation for the future,” Vice Admiral Ritchie said.

“The selection of Justin Giddings means AMDA will continue to be led by a Chief Executive who is an accomplished and constructive business leader, committed to AMDA’s altruistic mission and familiar with the complexities and challenges of the Australian International Airshow as AMDA’s signature event.”

Ian Honnery has warmly welcomed Justin Giddings as his successor. “Justin is well known for his success in developing Avalon Airport into Melbourne’s second international airport, but also for his dedication in building industry through regional economic development and vocational education,” he said.

Justin Giddings said he was “looking forward to leading the AMDA organisation and building on its achievements under the stewardship of Ian Honnery”.

“I have always strongly supported AMDA Foundation’s mission of stimulating Australian industry promotion and engagement through industry focused events and in fostering public awareness of industry and of opportunities in careers and skills,” Mr. Giddings said.

“I have been fortunate to have worked alongside Ian for many years and have enormous admiration and respect for what he has achieved. He leads a wonderful organisation and I am humbled to continue his service to the industry.

“I was an aircraft maintenance engineer before moving in to airport management, securing airline services and industry operations through both national and international business development. Aviation, technology and industry are in my blood, and with experience from the hangar floor to the management office, I have a passion for promoting vocational skills and careers.”

Vice Admiral Ritchie paid tribute to Ian Honnery’s stewardship of AMDA Foundation since its inception.

“AMDA Foundation’s stature as an established, respected leader in promotion of Australian industry owes much to the vision, skill and sheer determination of the man who has led the organisation for some 46 years since its inception,” Admiral Ritchie said.

“Over nearly five decades Ian Honnery and his team have created an organisation which has made a material contribution to the development of Australian industry, in the interests of the nation. Ian’s retirement, delayed so he could steer AMDA through the tribulations of COVID and oversee AMDA’s contribution to the Royal Australian Air Force Centenary year, will be well deserved.”

The altruistic purpose of AMDA Foundation Limited is to promote the development of aviation and Australia’s industrial, manufacturing and information/communications technology resources in the aerospace, maritime, aviation, defence and security sectors. AMDA achieves this aim through its programs and events (both in-person and on-line) in industry engagement, export and trade, innovation and technology, workforce development and sovereign capability.

AMDA is globally recognised for its major international expositions, which currently include the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (AVALON), the Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition, the Land Forces International Land Defence Exposition and the RotorTech Helicopter and Unmanned Flight Exposition.

Together, the most recent iterations of these events have:

  • Attracted more than 200,000 attendances
  • Provided a promotional platform for more than 2000 Australian and international companies
  • Hosted more than 400 Australian and International delegations
  • Hosted more than 100 Conferences and Symposia
  • Engaged more than 1700 students in STEM, Careers and Skilling programs.

“The next 12 months will be an action-packed year for AMDA” Admiral Ritchie said.

“We will continue to progress the on-line AMDA Connects industry engagement initiatives we introduced following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and our export, innovation and workforce promotion programs.

“AMDA will also be conducting the Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition in May with support from Navy, the RotorTech Helicopter and Unmanned Flight Exposition in June and the Land Forces International Land Defence Exposition in October with participation by Army.

“Then, in conjunction with Air Force we will be staging the largest ever Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at Avalon, in early March 2023, with the theme ‘The Future Is Now – From The Sky To The Stars’.

“All of our events are expected to attract record international participation and will take Australia to the World, by bringing the World to Australia.”

Media Enquiries:

Sandy Paterson
Head of Public Marketing, Media and Communications
AMDA Foundation Limited
M: +61 (0) 418 386 234



Considering increased uncertainty created by the impacts of the Delta variant of COVID-19, AMDA Foundation Limited confirms the cancellation of AIRSHOW 2021.

The pandemic has already required the AIRSHOW organising team to work through many past challenges in respect of the 2021 event, including postponement from its original planned dates.

However, recent developments as a consequence of the COVID-19 Delta strain have highlighted that the environment has become more unpredictable.

AMDA Foundation Chief Executive, Mr Ian Honnery, said “Delivering such a highly complex, hallmark event in these challenging circumstances would involve risks of uncertainty for attendees, participants, industry and the Australian public.“

“Therefore, in order to minimise uncertainty and disruption to attendees and participants, the
difficult decision has been taken now that AIRSHOW 2021 will not go ahead.“

Mr Honnery said, “It is deeply disappointing for the AMDA Foundation team, our stakeholders, exhibitors, participants and patrons that this signature industry trade show and public entertainment spectacular will not proceed. But public health and safety must be paramount and responsible levels of certainty must be achieved for all involved in or attending such a complex and multi-faceted major event.”

As the most comprehensive aviation, aerospace and defence exposition in the southern hemisphere, the biennial Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at Avalon is a key platform for the development of Australian aerospace and defence industry and for the promotion of civil and defence aviation.

Staged with major participation from the Royal Australian Air Force and substantial support from the Victorian Government, it is one of the largest events of its kind internationally, attracting exhibitors, participants and visitors from around the world.

While AIRSHOW cannot proceed in 2021, AMDA Foundation is now embarking on planning and preparation for AIRSHOW 2023 which will be held from 28 February to 5 March 2023.

Mr Honnery said, “With the expected transition to post-COVID normalcy, AIRSHOW 2023 will return to international prominence as one of the world’s great air shows. Showcasing the colour, spectacle and excitement of aviation, and the industrial and technological potential of aerospace, defence and space as national strategic capabilities, AIRSHOW 2023 will again take Australia to the world by bringing the world to Australia. Neither the sky, nor space, will be the limit at AIRSHOW 2023!”

Media Enquiries:

Sandy Paterson
Head of Public Marketing, Media and Communications
AMDA Foundation Limited
M: +61 (0) 418 386 234

Phillip Smart
Head of Industry and Communications
AMDA Foundation Limited
M: +61 (0) 438 311 644