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President's Perspective

Challenges on the Ground and in the Air

By Ed Bolen

NBAA President and CEO Ed BolenIn this space in Business Aviation Insider earlier this year, I predicted that our industry would need to be vigilant because of the continuing threat of user fees. It appears we have reason for concern in this area, as the Obama administration has again made clear its support for perflight user fees.

At the start of the year, the White House wrote to individuals who had signed a petition asking the president to reconsider his support for user fees. The White House response, titled “Why We Need User Fees,” follows previous calls for the new fees in federal budget proposals, plans for deficit reduction and other documents. (For more details, including how NBAA and the industry are fighting back, read a related article .)

I urge everyone in business aviation to remind elected officials of the general aviation community’s long-standing opposition to user fees. NBAA’s web site has a Contact Congress resource (www.nbaa.org/contactcongress) that makes it easy to ask your representatives to oppose any user fee proposal.

Of course, turning back the user fee threat isn’t the only concern facing the industry. An equally urgent priority is the need to remain as focused as ever on flying safety. This reality has been highlighted by the most recent report from Robert E. Breiling Associates Inc., which showed a rise in the number of business aviation accidents and fatalities in 2011 over those for 2010.

Safety has always been the top priority for business aviation, and NBAA remains dedicated to providing the resources needed to continually enhance the industry’s outstanding safety record.

For example, for more than half a century, NBAA’s Safety Committee has championed safety in all aspects of aviation, from aircraft and equipment design and maintenance procedures, to pilot qualifications, to medical standards. The Safety Committee also has administered the NBAA Flying Safety Awards program, which recognizes accident-free flight. Virtually every NBAA event includes a safety component, and each spring the Association, along with the Flight Safety Foundation, co-sponsors the Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar. Each autumn, NBAA partners with Bombardier to produce the industry’s largest Safety Standdown event.

NBAA also has developed numerous safety products specifically for business aircraft operators. The Association offers a flight operations manual template and conducts workshops to help flight departments develop manuals customized for their operations. For those who want to operate to the highest safety levels, NBAA has championed the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), a set of best practices embraced by 500 companies worldwide.

Finally, because operators need to know the latest safety information, this annual safety-themed edition of Business Aviation Insider, along with associated online content at www.nbaa.org/insider, provides the latest information regarding safety best practices.

NBAA will continue to focus on our industry’s priorities on the ground and in the air, and we know you will as well.

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