Feb. 6, 2015

As in many other states nationwide, aviation industry leaders in Minnesota have worked hard to educate state lawmakers about the industry’s value to citizens, companies and communities. Now, business aviation advocates in Minnesota are working to take the next step: the creation of a state General Aviation Caucus.

As the Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA) was preparing to host lawmakers at its fourth annual state aviation day, organizers realized this year’s events would be unlike any previous iteration. Instead of staging the event at the state capital, MBAA is holding it at St. Paul Downtown Airport (STP), giving lawmakers a chance to see business aviation in action.

The event, held Feb. 3, was moved this year because the Minnesota state capital building is undergoing a renovation and much of it is closed for business. As in years past, MBAA had partners in the event: the Minnesota Aviation Trade Association and the Minnesota Council of Airports.

“All three groups have worked to sponsor this event over the years, and now we’re hoping to take the next step,” said MBAA Executive Director Gordon Hoff, adding he hopes to work with key legislators this year in creating the first Minnesota General Aviation Caucus.

MBAA bussed 22 state senators and representatives from the capitol to Signature Aviation’s hangar at Homan Field for lunch and a chance to meet with business aviation operators from around the state, Hoff said. Nearly 100 operators attended the event, which included a facility tour and a chance to check out three business aircraft on display in the hangar. NBAA sent copies of the Business Leaders on Business Aviation booklet, the NBAA Business Aviation Fact Book and No Plane No Gain pins to this event for attendees to take away with them.

Minnesota Aviation Day started four years ago when the industry worked to eliminate the sales tax on aviation parts and labor, as well as lower the cost of aircraft registration, Hoff said.

“We now have a very positive relationship with state lawmakers, and this [event] has been a big factor in that,” said Hoff.

As the legislative season in states across the country gets underway, aviation advocates nationwide are organizing similar events designed to put operators in touch with lawmakers.

For example, the New York Aviation Management Association will host its Aviation Advocacy Day March 10 and 11 at the Albany Hilton. The event is designed to foster conversations between the aviation industry and New York legislators, educating the lawmakers on the advantages of a strong aviation industry and its contributions to the economy. This year, more than 50 people are expected to attend.

In New Hampshire, the Granite State Airport Management Association will hold its annual legislative meeting March 20 on the campus of Plymouth State University.