Lack of Lava-Proof Planes Wont Stop Us Going to Interphex

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Marshmallow toasting opportunities en route to Interphex in 2010
Marshmallow toasting opportunities en route to Interphex in 2010
So, look. Interphex is a great trade show. No doubt. 

The conference programme is always packed with must-see presentations, the exhibition hall always thronged with experts eager to discuss the latest trends and scientific developments and New York is always – as you've probably heard – an excellent place to procure post-show libations.

The problem, at least back in 2010, was the aerospace industry’s failure to develop the lava-proof plane.

This shortcoming, coupled with the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull ​volcano, made waving ‘au revoir​’ to colleagues at our French HQ and jetting off to New York a considerable challenge. But that isn’t to say we didn’t try.

Usually, when prepping for Interphex we pack our dictaphones, cameras and notepads and fly to New York a few days before the show to acclimatize, recover from jet-lag and – in some cases – take advantage of the shopping opportunities the Big Apple has to offer.


But, not in 2010. The trip began normally enough. We rendezvous-ed at our Montpellier base at ‘silly-o’clock’ in the morning to put the finishing touches to our show coverage plan, make last minute phone calls to contacts and arrange taxis to the airport. 

Shortly afterwards things started to go wrong, beginning when the first reports of the Icelandic eruption reached our office via the newswires. 

Initially, the news raised more interested eyebrows than concerns. However, as the morning went on and the news coverage started to focus on the amount of dust and smoke in the air – too much and lots, respectively – we began to realize that getting to Interphex was going to be more tricky than usual this time around.

Our response was that of any hardworking editorial department the world over. We drank coffee, checked our voicemails and sent volcano-related Bjork song title puns to one another via email.

But, as time went on we refocused and our previously somewhat casual efforts to look for alternative routes to the US became more serious to the extent that – by 9 am – there was something of an Expedia-frenzy going on.

Did we want to take a 23-hour flight to New York via Madrid, Lisbon, Cardiff and Cairo? Not really.

Had we considered chartering a transatlantic sea-plane? Not really a practical solution for a team travelling with bulky cameras and lights.

How about taking the approach of the Montgolfier brothers and going by hot air balloon? Nope. Several members of the team have vertigo.


As it turned out these efforts were for naught as – just an hour or so later – European authorities called a halt on all transatlantic flights for the next few days.

This meant that, sadly, we couldn’t get to Interphex in 2010. So we covered the show as best we could from this side of the pond (see examples here​, here​ and here​) and determined to redouble efforts to make it to the show the following year.

Incidentally, the European flight ban also ‘stranded’ several journalists from our sister food industry news websites in Florida although, to be honest, sympathy levels were low as we could all think of worse places to be stuck!

The in-Pharmatechnologist team has been fortunate enough to go to Interphex every year since Eyjafjallajökull blew its top. (Here’s our review video from 2012).

And - despite the continuing lack of a magma-resistant jumbo (for shame the areospace industry!) - we can guarantee we will be at Interphex in 2013.

This is thanks to our new New York office from where we will co-ordinate our coverage of the show to keep you informed about the latest technologies, industry trends and breaking news. 

See you in New York on April 23.

The in-Pharmatechnologist Editorial team.

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