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Bolen Previews Business Aviation’s Biggest Annual Event
October 21, 2013
As NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA 2013) gets underway in Las Vegas, NV, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen expressed optimism about the Convention, the industry and the Association’s relationship with government leaders in the aftermath of the federal shutdown earlier this month.
“We’ll need to dig through a very significant backlog,” Bolen said of last week’s end to the shutdown as he surveyed preparations for NBAA2013 on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, “so it’s not business as normal, but we’re open, we’re moving our way back in. And I think that’s something that bodes well for all of us.”
Many FAA inspectors are now back on the job and the Federal Aircraft Registry in Oklahoma City is once again open for business, he noted.
Congress has taken a beating in the polls as a result of recent federal government shutdown, but Bolen suggested not everyone on Capitol Hill should be blamed. Even in the din of controversy, he said NBAA’s message was heard.
“Today, over half of the House of Representatives belong to the General Aviation House Caucus. Forty percent of the United States Senate belongs to the caucus. So we’ve built a lot of relationships,” said Bolen.
Those relationships have been apparent in other parts of the government as well. For instance, Bolen pointed to recent talks between NBAA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which resulted in major improvements in border crossings and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) Access Standard Security Program, as two examples of how relationship building with government leaders has created new opportunities for business aviation. TSA Administrator John Pistol is among the speakers during the NBAA2013 Opening General Session on Oct. 22.
As Bolen walked the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, he noted signs of an improving business climate for aviation.
“We have more vendors this year – approximately 1,100,” he said. While the industry continues to deal with the after-effects of the recession, he noted improvements in general aviation both at the Las Vegas Convention Center and on the flight line at Henderson Executive Airport, where 85 aircraft were on display for NBAA2013, and where manufacturers like Cessna, Embraer and Hawker-Beechcraft have a significant presence.
“Companies, despite the pressure, continue to invest in technologies and equipment,” he said. “That’s now coming to the market. We’re seeing some of those investments today. People obviously believe in the future. They have invested in the future. That’s what you’re seeing here at NBAA2013 right now.”