Letters to Media

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Bolen Sets the Record Straight on AP Story About Collegiate Business Aviation Use

March 3, 2017

When local newspapers across the country recently published a largely negative, one-sided Associated Press story about universities’ use of business aviation, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen was quick to respond, with a letter being published in some of the same papers that ran the original story. “The value of general aviation, and of community airports, explains why universities – as well as companies of all sizes, philanthropic organizations, local and federal government agencies, and other enterprises – make use of such assets,” Bolen said in his letter.

View Bolen’s letter as it appeared in the Mar. 3 edition of the Columbus [OH] Post-Dispatch.

Letter: Private Aircraft Make Sense for College

The Associated Press article "Flying coach: Many universities are using private planes" in the Feb. 20 Dispatch.com unfortunately missed a few points about the importance of these aircraft, and the airports they use, and the benefits of that use, not just for the organizations, but often, for the surrounding communities.

First, many colleges are located in small towns and rural areas, and for these institutions, a general aviation airplane allows people to quickly cover distances that could take hours or days to cover with other transportation modes, thereby optimizing efficiency and turning travel into work time, in which people can collaborate while flying between destinations.

Additionally, for many academic institutions, their local aircraft and airport are needed to support aviation-education programs, and are also used to facilitate flight training and air traffic control training. The airplanes may also be used on flights from small, nearby airports in support of military, National Guard and Civil Air Patrol operations, or air-ambulance and angel flight missions.

Simply put, the value of general aviation, and of community airports, explains why universities – as well as companies of all sizes, philanthropic organizations, local and federal government agencies, and other enterprises – make use of such assets.

It's unfortunate that the Associated Press article emphasized only the negative impact of these aircraft, instead of taking a closer look at its benefits.

Ed Bolen<
President, chief executive officer
National Business Aviation Association
Washington, DC