Region V: Europe

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Confronting a Myriad of Issues, EBAA Opts for Team Leadership

October 17, 2011

Listen to a podcast interview with EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba.

Between now and the end of the year, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is tackling issues that range from a number of new EU-mandated safety issues to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and even how much of the runway Part 135 operators should be allowed to use (60-percent versus 80-percent).

To deal with the wide array of crucial issues across the pond, EBAA President Brian Humphries has a new partner – CEO Fabio Gamba.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have Fabio with us,” Humphries said. “He’s got a terrific background. He’s perfect for the job.”

That background includes a substantial resume, Humphries said. Gamba started his career at the Civil Aviation Navigation Services Organization (CANSO). From there, he moved to Boeing and eventually became that company’s deputy director of business development and strategy in Europe. Most recently, Gamba was deputy secretary-general of the Association of European Airlines, where he developed an amazing list of EU and member state contacts.

“I have acquired working relationships and personal relationships with a lot of the people who are critical to decisions involving business aviation in Europe. “Business aviation needs fair and equitable rules that recognize its specificities. Having spent the last five years fighting the airline corner, I now look forward to using that expertise to help business aviation grow and develop its vital role in Europe.”

Gamba cited the upcoming implementation of the European Union’s ETS program as an early test of his abilities to cultivate those relationships in a way most beneficial to European business operators.

“This is going to be implemented by the first of January, 2012 – it’s like tomorrow!” Gamba exclaimed. “We still have a certain number of issues pending.”

Chief among them, he said, is the need for EU regulators to recognize that business operators may not have the resources to handle monitoring, reporting and verification as do the airlines.

Other issues Gamba must tackle almost from day one include a long list of new safety regulations proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

“We want to make sure that in the revision of the member states’ codes the new EASA Ops take into consideration our own business models,” he noted.

Humphries said he is certain Gamba’s appointment will mean relations with NBAA will only grow closer in the months ahead.

“We’ve been delighted over the way the relationship between EBAA and NBAA has grown over the last ten years. ETS is an area where we can speak with one voice. We have a common goal in that we both want to see that it’s applied fairly. We want to ensure we have as level a playing field as possible,” Humphries said.

Of course, the two organizations continue their joint efforts on the European Business Aviation Convention and Expo, an annual aviation event staged in Geneva. “Pulling together in the same direction is where we will continue to have real strengths,” Humphries concluded.