March 20, 2015

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen this week delivered the business aviation message to a capacity crowd of aviation leaders in Washington, DC that transformation of the air traffic control (ATC) system needs to be accomplished “thoughtfully,” in order to advance what is currently “the world’s largest, most complex and most diverse airspace system in the world” for years to come.

“We need to be the leader today and in the future,” Bolen told attendees at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 14th Annual Aviation Summit, held March 17, noting that “the system’s diversity is reflected in general aviation – an industry that provides more than one million jobs and contributes over $219 billion to the economy annually.”

Bolen participated in a panel, “Air Traffic Control: Changing Course,” during which aviation-system privatization was discussed, with panelists including top officials with privatized systems in Canada and Ireland. Robert Crandall, former chairman and CEO of AMR Corporation and American Airlines, moderated the panel.

Bolen gave examples of business aviation, which is composed of thousands of mostly small to mid-size companies that typically operate outside the nation’s large hub airports, most often flying into airports that are not served by commercial airlines. “As we look to transformation,” Bolen said, “we need to keep in the forefront how companies that depend on business aviation have access to airports and airspace – and ensure that this access is maintained predictably and affordably.”

View an NBAA Video Minute in which Bolen highlights business aviation’s value, and reiterates the need for operators to retain predictable, affordable access to the aviation system as modernization progresses.

“The focus needs to be on how the U.S. transforms its air transportation system, including the adoption of new technology, to allow everyone to participate,” he said. “We need to maintain a system that is fair, transparent and equitable. Even though there are some differences of opinion, we have a similar end game – to ensure our nation continues to have the best air traffic system in the world.”