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Special Advocacy Supplement
No Plane No Gain Marks Two Years of Advocacy Success
When NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) jointly launched the No Plane No Gain campaign in February 2009, their goal was to educate policymakers and opinion leaders on the value of business aviation. As the campaign embarks on its third year, the associations – and the industry they represent – can be proud of its significant accomplishments.
As NBAA prepares for bigger and better efforts in 2011, the Association is taking this opportunity to highlight the progress made by the No Plane No Gain campaign so far.
2009: Launching a Far-Reaching, 21st Century Campaign
As members of the business aviation community recall, the November 2008 flights by the Big Three auto industry executives from Detroit to Washington, DC aboard business airplanes to ask for taxpayer assistance were met with derision by members of Congress and other national policymakers.
NBAA and GAMA recognized that if policymakers did not understand why successful companies – most of them small and medium-size enterprises – rely on business aviation, the industry could be targeted with unfair and burdensome legislation. The two associations launched No Plane No Gain to reach out directly to policymakers and opinion leaders through traditional channels, like earned media and paid advertising, while leveraging a variety of grassroots strategies and social media technologies like Facebook and Twitter to put the campaign's resources in the hands of industry people.
Additionally, by producing a dedicated web site (noplanenogain.org), along with a host of print materials, surveys, studies, videos and other resources, NBAA and GAMA made it possible for everyone in the industry to mobilize in support of the campaign, both in their communities and on the national stage.
To bolster these multimedia tools, NBAA and GAMA provided industry advocates with hard facts. Through No Plane No Gain, NBAA sponsored a study by NEXA Advisors proving that S&P 500 companies using business aviation outperform those without aircraft.
The two associations also underwrote a survey by Harris Interactive shown that, contrary to popular misperceptions, the typical business aviation operator is a small or mid-sized company flying a single aircraft.
No Plane No Gain ads also aired during Sunday public affairs programs, like ABC's This Week With George Stephanopolous, as well as on cable networks, in the Washington, DC area, including FOX News, CNBC, MSNBC and CNN. The campaign's messages also ran in the newspapers read by Washington policymakers, including The Hill, Politico, and USA Today.
Together, these efforts yielded powerful results. Policymakers not only paid attention to this unprecedented business aviation advocacy effort, but became engaged. By the end of the summer, the U.S. House and Senate had launched caucuses devoted to promoting general aviation, while leading members of both parties spoke publicly on their chamber floors, in hearings and in their districts about the benefits of business aviation.
“By the end of 2010, governors in 19 states had issued proclamations recognizing the value of business aviation. In Washington, DC, the general aviation caucuses swelled to included dozens of members”
By October 2009, state governors also began issuing proclamations recognizing the essential role business aviation plays in their states. At the local level, several mayors and municipal legislators held events to draw attention to the local airports and the general aviation airplanes that contribute to the vitality of their communities.
No Plane No Gain ended its first year and entered 2010 with tremendous momentum, just as NBAA and GAMA debuted several new resources and strategies to further extend the reach and effectiveness of the campaign.
2010: An Effective Campaign Gains Speed, Altitude
In the last year, NBAA and GAMA have built on the success of the No Plane No Gain effort by expanding the campaign's advertising and media relations efforts, releasing additional advocacy resources for people in the industry and supporting local initiatives that have brought together business leaders and elected officials all across the country to highlight the contributions business aviation makes in their communities.
Over the summer, American hero Neil Armstrong and legendary investor Warren Buffett joined iconic golfer and esteemed businessman Arnold Palmer as national spokesmen for the No Plane No Gain campaign. The three figures appeared in ads that ran in industry trade journals and influential publications like The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal. Continuous media outreach also earned national coverage of No Plane No Gain messages in venues like CNN, CNBC and the New York Times, among others.
The No Plane No Gain message continued to gain traction, even outside the Washington Beltway. By the end of 2010, governors in 19 states had issued proclamations recognizing the value of business aviation. In Washington, DC, the general aviation caucuses in the House and Senate swelled to include dozens of members, reflecting a greater awareness of the many benefits of business aviation.
An equally important focus of the No Plane No Gain campaign in 2010 was the production of additional resources for business aviation professionals. For example, NBAA's all-new Business Aviation Fact Book provided data and real-world information that present a comprehensive profile of the industry and its benefits to citizens, companies and communities.
In addition, a second NEXA study was released. This one shows that small and mid-sized companies using business aircraft outperformed their competitors that do not. The study, along with the earlier NEXA study, shows that use of a business airplane is a sign of a well-managed company, regardless of the size of the enterprise.
By the end of the year, the industry had tangible indicators of continued progress. Congress passed legislation allowing for accelerated, or "bonus," depreciation in 2010 for strategic business purchases, including aircraft. Also, Congress passed a resolution recognizing the industry's rapid and heroic response to the January 12, 2010, earthquake that struck the island nation of Haiti.
A Wealth of Member Resources to Fly Higher in 2011
As No Plane No Gain enters its third year, NBAA and GAMA will continually work not only to keep the No Plane No Gain campaign's message relevant and fresh, but also to empower industry professionals to take ownership of the campaign by providing new resources and tools. To get involved and stay abreast of the campaign's progress, visit www.noplanenogain.org.