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CEO Testimonials, Global Operators Study Unveiled at Media Kickoff Breakfast

October 22, 2013

This morning the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) joined with NBAA in celebrating the organizations' 20th year in hosting the No Plane No Gain Media Kickoff Breakfast, where NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recapped recent campaign initiatives and unveiled a new study titled, "Business Aviation and the World's Top Performing Companies," which finds that business aviation is a valuable tool not only for companies based in the United States, but also for enterprises around the world.

Among the study's findings – the fifth in a series of industry surveys to be completed by NEXA Advisors, LLC – was that business aircraft are utilized by 98 percent of Fortune magazine’s top 50 "World's Most Admired Companies," as well as 88 percent of the publication's "Global 500" listing of top companies worldwide based on revenue.

Download the study: Business Aviation and the World's Top Performing Companies (2.1 MB, PDF).

"These findings are not NBAA's findings. They're not GAMA's findings. They're data-driven findings from third-party sources," said Bolen. "In each case, what we find is the same: companies using business aviation routinely outperform similar companies that do not use business aviation. That means business aviation is the sign of a well-managed company, which is true for companies of all types, all sizes, all around the world."

Building on the NEXA study's message, Bolen also announced the "Top Ten" initiative, which highlights how leaders of 10 of the world's most respected companies value business aviation. In one of the program’s testimonials, FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith calls the use of business aircraft a "force multiplier" for his company. Copies of the Top Ten book are available on-site throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center this week.

Download the Top Ten publication (1.6 MB, PDF).

NBAA Chairman Richard Shine began the breakfast with the presentation of NBAA's 2013 Gold Wing Award for Journalism Excellence to Molly McMillin, a reporter for the Wichita Eagle who was recognized for highlighting the key role business aircraft play in supporting three Wichita, KS companies.

Following presentation of the journalism award, GAMA Chairman Brad Mottier provided an assessment of the current market, saying that the picture remains “mixed.”

“We have seen continued growth in corporate profits and in global GDP, which are both good signs for future shipments,” explained Mottier. “Flight hours have gradually been on the rise, and the international marketplace continues to present opportunities for business aviation. That said, it’s clear the industry’s optimism continues to be tempered. We haven’t seen a total rebound in billings and shipments among all business aircraft types. We also know that…some of the developments taking place in the nation’s capital are giving the industry pause.”

Nevertheless, Bolen and GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce contend that the industry would be in worse shape had it not rallied around No Plane No Gain program.

"We're still here today, despite the fallout from the now-infamous 2008 trip the automobile manufacturers made to Washington aboard business airplanes to ask for taxpayer bailouts," Bolen said. "To the extent we have survived, and in fact, in some areas have thrived, it is because we have consistently told our story."

In response to several audience questions about the recent government shutdown and impact of federal budgetary pressures on the industry, Bolen and Bunce cited the importance of having friends in Congress (229 representatives and 40 senators are members of the GA Caucuses). During the shutdown, those legislators made calls to the DOT and FAA, urging the reopening of the FAA Aircraft Registry. Closure of the registry had effectively halted all aircraft transactions during the shutdown.

Going forward, NBAA and GAMA plan to underscore to the media and public how the shutdown disproportionately affected business aviation and should not be repeated.

Bolen also noted that the industry has submitted cost-saving suggestions to the FAA, including ways to streamline the certification process, consolidate facilities and prioritize NextGen projects. We need to “make sure FAA having less does not mean FAA is doing less,” he said.

Bunce concluded, “The one thing we’ve learned is that, no matter what the challenge is, policymakers, opinion leaders and others need to know that general aviation is a critically important industry – to our nation’s economy, and to our nation’s transportation system.”

Also presented during the Media Kickoff Breakfast was a collection of video clips, including scenes from the Capitol Hill Aviation Rally on Oct. 10, 2013; the House Small Business Committee Roundtable on Oct. 3, 2013; and the General Aviation Jobs Rally on Aug. 12, 2013. It features various leaders discussing the benefits of general aviation and the effects of the federal government shutdown on the industry.