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Demonstrating the Value of Business Aviation

By Ed Bolen

As we prepare to gather at the 62nd Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, it is important to recall that no challenge confronting business aviation in these turbulent economic times is more important than speaking out on the value that business aviation delivers for the nation.

Business aviation has been under attack in the United States ever since the automakers flew to Washington late last year on their companies’ airplanes, prompting questions about whether those flights were an appropriate use of the aircraft. It wasn’t long before the questions morphed into the one that has now been asked of all of business aviation: Is it ever appropriate?

Answering that question affirmatively and convincingly is perhaps the most important challenge our community has ever faced. If the people in our industry go to Capitol Hill, or to the Administration, or to the federal agencies – with concerns about user fees, emissions rules or new security regulations – and business aviation isn’t viewed as essential, no one will care if a regulation or law will damage the industry.

As a result, NBAA has been relentless in talking publicly about the value of business aviation and encouraging Members to join in this effort. In Orlando, we will be reporting on NBAA's partnership with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in the No Plane No Gain (NPNG) advocacy campaign.

Throughout the year, this multi-layered impressions campaign has been educating policymakers and opinion leaders about the importance of business aviation through paid advertising in public affairs programming, national television, print and radio news stories, use of the Internet and direct outreach to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

We have reason for optimism that some progress is being made. For example, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a resolution recognizing the value of general aviation (GA), including business aviation, to the nation’s economic and transportation systems. The resolution cites the role of general aviation in supporting job creation, economic activity, humanitarian support and business productivity – all central messages in the No Plane No Gain campaign.

At this point in the year, we are also optimistic about developments on the policy front. The FAA reauthorization proposals approved by the House and under consideration in the Senate build on continued use of the fuel tax for GA.

Equally important, it appears that significant revisions are likely for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), as Congress has called for greater industry input on TSA proposals.

And on the emissions front, the whole aviation community remains united on principles for limiting aircraft emissions while ensuring the continued growth and mobility of the industry.

Of course, NBAA and the business aviation community will need to remain vigilant on these and other proposals.

All of this and more will be on the Convention agenda as we come together to do business, network, engage in professional development and demonstrate the value of business aviation.

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando.