Region I: North America

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CBAA Convention to Highlight 50 Years of Advocacy

July 6-7 Gathering Will Honor the Past, Look to the Future

July 3, 2011

Canada and the United States may be separated by a border on the ground, but both countries share many common issues affecting business aviation. The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) has worked for 50 years to represent operators in that country, a milestone the group will celebrate during its annual convention July 6-7 in Calgary, Alberta.

The anniversary celebration is scheduled to include a formal dinner, awards ceremony, and video montage commemorating the history of the organization. In keeping with the historical theme of the event, the ‘Hawk One’ Sabre – a rare RCAF Canadair F-86 – will be on display.

Even as CBAA honors the industry’s achievements to date, however, the convention’s primary focus will be on current and future issues affecting business aviation. Guest speakers for the event include NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, and Dr. John Izzo of The Izzo Group. Both will speak of the issues and attitudes affecting business aviation on both sides of the border, and what CBAA members can do to help, explains Andrew Oestreich, VP Marketing and Communications at CBAA.

“We are building a close relationship with NBAA, and it’s been going very, very well,” says Oestreich. “We do a lot in terms of advocacy affecting operators both north and south. Ed will be talking about that collaboration.”

The topic of Dr. Izzo’s speech, “How Stepping Up Can Change Your Company & the World,” is a message Oestreich says resonates in the international community. “This is an important time, and that is an important message for business aviation right now,” he says. “How can you participate, and help make that change? We need to stand up and defend the industry, stand up and promote it as a useful tool.”

As the world in which business aviation operates continues to change, Oestreich notes, “CBAA has had to transform itself to a more traditional organization, and change our skill set to adapt to the new environment.”

An example of this change is the Private Operators Certificate Program, which until recently allowed the organization to register Canadian business aircraft on behalf of Transport Canada. “The program was very successful,” Oestreich says. “We built a staff and organization to support it, and once we were involved we could assure aircraft would be ready to go into service within 2-3 days.

“The program has since been taken back by the Canadian government,” Oestreich continues, “and Transport Canada was ill-prepared to take it on. There are still some challenges, but we are working with them closely to smooth out the transition, so aircraft may continue to enter service with a minimum of delay.”

Oestreich encourages Canadian operators who aren’t members of CBAA to consider joining the organization, and for current members to take an active role in promoting and supporting business aviation.

“It’s about having your voice heard,” Oestreich says. “Our industry suffers from perception issues – the perception of ‘boys with toys,’ for example – and yet, approximately 70% of business aircraft are used by middle management! One of our largest CBAA members has 35 flights per day moving oil field crews. That’s more than some regional airlines.

“There’s strength in numbers,” he says. “We want to hear your voice, to make sure flying is safe, easy and unencumbered.”

Learn more about CBAA, and next week’s Convention.