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President's Perspective

NBAA Champions Business Aviation Worldwide

By Ed Bolen

NBAA President and CEO Ed BolenAs business aviation has become a global activity, NBAA has expanded its focus and activities to support those who utilize business aircraft.

For example, NBAA, in conjunction with the Asian Business Aviation Association, recently concluded the successful Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE), the annual Asian tradeshow dedicated solely to business aviation. Not only did the event showcase the latest aircraft and technologies, it served as the venue for industry advocates to interact with regulators and other government officials who will be instrumental in the expansion of business aviation in the fastest-growing economy in the world.

Now we are on the eve of opening the 12th Annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2012), to be held May 14 to 16 in Geneva, Switzerland. This event also offers an opportunity for industry advocates to educate those who are not fully aware of the benefits of business aviation.

Despite several years of reduced flight activity caused by the prolonged economic downturn, business aviation has begun to rebound in Europe. Equally important, in recent years, key European organizations – including Eurocontrol, the European Commission and the European Parliament – have come to more fully appreciate the value of business aviation: that using an aircraft helps a company be more competitive and gain access to new markets. Those benefits, in turn, help fuel economic activity.

Some European regulators and other government officials who have developed a more complete understanding of business aviation’s contributions learned about the industry by attending EBACE. But despite the effectiveness of the event in demonstrating and reinforcing the value of business aviation, much work remains to be done.

As the “Focus on Europe” special section included in this edition of Business Aviation Insider explains, the European Union (EU) and some of its member states continue to develop policy proposals that will hamper business aviation. Limits on access to airports and airspace, overreaching regulations, and onerous tax and fee proposals that threaten to slow the pace of growth and inhibit the ability of aircraft operators to fly as efficiently as possible are all on the industry’s radar screen.

Besides the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), other alarming proposals have surfaced. For instance, the United Kingdom has decided to rescind business aviation’s exemption from the air passenger duty, a fee that until now has only applied to commercial carriers. The levy, which is based on how far you travel and what type of aircraft you fly, applies to all flights that begin or end in the U.K.

In addition to paying more to fly, business aircraft operators flying to Europe may soon face additional regulatory requirements. The European Aviation Safety Agency is developing rules (such as the requirement to have a safety management system) that would apply to noncommercial operators of turbojet airplanes or aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds.

So, as you can see, there is a continuing need for vigilance and advocacy within our business aviation community. We hope that by reading the “Focus on Europe” section you can acquaint yourself with the issues the industry faces in Europe and be an informed advocate for business aviation yourself.

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