April 1, 2013

An industry panel moderated by NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen on “Future Trends in Aviation” at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on March 28 was also an opportunity to stress the importance of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities in the United States.

The value of business aviation in a highly competitive global marketplace was on display during the chamber’s 12th Annual Aviation Summit, where NBAA was among the sponsoring organizations. The event featured a large banner (shown), produced by NBAA, showcasing individuals from across business aviation who have been featured in the most recent ad campaign produced for the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign.

The campaign is jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the latest ad campaign is called ”Faces of Business Aviation,” because it puts forward real people in the industry to underscore for policymakers and opinion leaders the size, diversity and importance of business aviation in America today. No Plane No Gain ads were also featured in the literature handed out at the event.

Learn more about the ads and view a copy of each ”Faces of Business Aviation” ad.

The sequester, which is the inside-Washington term used for across-the-board agency funding cuts as part of deficit reduction, was top-of-mind for those participating in the forum, partly because the cuts have led to the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers.

Bolen pointed out that the planned closure of the towers in the coming weeks will be particularly felt by business aviation, because those towers often serve rural airports and the surrounding communities, which have limited or no scheduled airline service. There is “particular concern in our segment of the industry that this is a blunt instrument approach” to the nation’s budget problems, Bolen said.

Equally important, Bolen pointed to future planning needs for the aviation community, noting that NextGen modernization efforts could be significantly impacted by sequestration.

Margaret Jenny, president of RTCA, agreed, noting that her organization is advising the Federal Aviation Administration on future air traffic management efforts, including NextGen, and the timing of the sequester is especially challenging. “The sequestration is coming at the very time when the NextGen Advisory Committee is trying to move forward,” Jenny said.

Bolen responded: “We have the largest, safest and most diverse air transportation system in the world. And now the pressure is on for us to stay that way.”