Jan. 24, 2019

Ed Bolen

Regional business aviation associations form the backbone of industry advocacy efforts on the national level, and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recently attended gatherings of two such groups to reflect upon the events of 2018 and to address challenges for the year ahead.

On Jan. 15, Bolen visited with members of the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (CABAA) to discuss several matters affecting the industry, including efforts to bolster the business aviation workforce and effects from the ongoing federal government shutdown.

“It’s become tradition to have Ed attend CABAA’s January meeting,” said the group’s President Roger Gates. “His presence always helps energize our members and highlight that, while our industry will always face hurdles, there’s nothing we can’t overcome through collaboration.”

Later that week, Bolen attended the first meeting of 2019 for the Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA). Outgoing Chair Kandi Spangler emphasized the benefit to CABA members in hearing a national perspective on the current legislative and regulatory climate.

“We tap into NBAA’s resources at a high level throughout the year, and work in a grassroots manner locally to ensure we’re in agreement on how to handle regional issues and to help with national issues,” she added.

As an example of NBAA’s support for the industry at the regional level, Spangler noted CABA’s opposition to an effort to remove the current exemption from Colorado’s sales and use tax on aircraft parts and service.

“Many states have recognized the benefits from such exemptions in attracting business to their states; Colorado is a rarity in attempting to move in the opposite direction,” she said. “With NBAA’s support, highlighting those positive effects nationwide will definitely be part of our dialogue with legislators in the year ahead.”

Another message Bolen shared with both groups was the significant impact regional associations had in the recent passage of a comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill supporting airspace modernization and without language to privatize the air traffic control system.

“Ed emphasized those measures would not have been possible without the massive effort put forth by regional groups, and that our support for NBAA initiatives at the regional level helps keep the political winds at bay.” Gates said.