March 1, 2023

As Congress embarks on FAA reauthorization, it’s vital that the industry get the message out to lawmakers, the media and the public about the important role aviation – including business aviation – plays in connecting businesses and communities throughout the country.

That was the key message NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen had for attendees at the National Association of State Aviation Officials Washington Conference, taking place this week in Washington, DC.

“The societal benefit of building, preserving and promoting our airports and airspace is important to all of America,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon all of us to be advocates for aviation.”

Bolen pointed to the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, which is jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, as offering specific talking points that can be helpful in telling the industry’s story.

Business aviation means jobs – about 1.2 million of them in the U.S. – and it means economic development for communities, with the thousands of airports across the country being a key driver, he said.

Business aviation also allows companies to be more effective and more efficient, Bolen continued, noting that a business aircraft allows people to travel to three cities in one day, as opposed to one city in three days.

And the humanitarian work done by those in the industry has “enormous societal benefits,” he added. “All of this is being done as business aviation continues to work on reducing its carbon footprint through new technology and new fuel sources.”

FAA Reauthorization in Focus

Bolen noted he recently testified before Congress about NBAA’s priorities, as the current FAA funding bill expires Sept. 30, adding he is optimistic a bill will be passed before that date without the need for continuing resolutions. Read more about Bolen’s Feb. 7 testimony before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

NBAA’s priorities include:

  • A sharp focus on safety, which should be the “guiding star of everything we’re doing.”
  • Digitizing processes to bring efficiencies to core FAA functions.
  • Integrating advanced air mobility (AAM) into the aviation system, and ensuring the U.S. is a leader in the AAM sector.
  • Ensuring privacy for those who use general aviation.
  • Resolving concerns over the interference of 5G technology with aircraft radar altimetry systems.
  • Working with Congress on the rollout of any new safety management system proposals from the FAA.

Also, Bolen noted, there must be a focus on building a workforce for the future. “This is an important industry,” he said. “We need to attract, develop and retain the best and the brightest, no matter where they are.

“Aviation may be more exciting than it’s ever been,” Bolen said. “We enter 2023 as a time of great opportunity.”