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Advocacy Again Front and Center at NBAA2012

October 29, 2012

The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is not just a marketplace; it is the ultimate forum for industry advocacy. This year’s Convention (NBAA2012) is underscoring the importance and value of business aviation in multiple ways, as well as offering Attendees new tools and opportunities to communicate that vital message to elected officials.

“The NBAA Convention is the largest business aviation event in the world,” noted Lisa Piccione, NBAA’s senior vice president, government affairs, “and it presents a strong reminder of the importance of business aviation to local, regional, national and worldwide economies. The sight of tens of thousands of people in the industry, and the hundreds upon hundreds of Exhibitors of all sizes at the show, sends a very powerful message of how vital business aviation is to citizens, companies and communities. Especially in this election year, it is important that candidates for elected office understand the value of business aviation,” added Piccione.”

Piccione said that NBAA2012 Attendees have an opportunity at the Convention to use one of the laptop computers running NBAA’s popular online “Contact Congress” resource to send messages to federal elected officials about priorities for the business aviation industry.

“At a time when the industry faces a number of concerns in the Washington policy arena, it is critical that everyone in business aviation weigh in with their elected officials,” said Piccione. “Contact Congress is a quick and easy online tool for making your voice heard on the issues affecting our industry.”

Perhaps the most ominous near-term policy threat to business aviation is the prospect of user fees. In an attempt to address the growing federal budget deficit, industry advocates fear that government officials will again seek imposition of new fees to raise revenue. New signage at the Convention warns Attendees: “If you thought user fees were dead, think again,” and encourages them to visit NBAA’s website to learn more.

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, along with Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, will provide additional details about proposed user fees and the industry’s other legislative and regulatory priorities during the Media Kickoff Breakfast scheduled for 7 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30. at the Orange County Convention Center.

On Monday, Bolen and Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America; Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Matt Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International; and Niel Ritchie, executive director of the League of Rural Voters, unveiled new resources for people in the industry to make the size and importance of all general aviation, including business aviation, known to candidates running for elective office.

“We are presenting new resources for citizens to communicate about the industry’s vital contributions to communities, as well as methods to contact local lawmakers and members of the media,” Shilad explained. “For example, advocates will have the ability to look up figures from economic impact surveys down to their specific zip code, and immediately share that information with candidates or incumbents running for election.”

The Alliance for Aviation Across America website also will feature a State and Local Activity Center, which outlines the ways in which Alliance members have been active in their local area. This includes an interactive map showing the states that have passed proclamations recognizing the value of general aviation. In addition, the site has a Member Center page, where members can upload videos and testimonials and learn how to contact their elected officials and local media.

“We hope everyone in the industry will use these new resources to drive home the point that business aviation is essential to our country,” Bolen said.