May 28, 2020
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen spoke during a virtual Corporate Jet Investor Town Hall about the association’s work to represent industry during this highly challenging COVID-19 moment, and the ways business aviation would likely be stronger as a result of collective efforts.
Alasdair White of Corporate Jet Investor moderated the session, and asked Bolen to walk through the particulars.
Bolen explained the association’s efforts on Capitol Hill and with regulators to ensure the industry survives the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting financial crisis, sharing this valuable lesson:
“Years of work to build our reputation within Congress and within the regulatory agencies has been critically important during a time of crisis,” said Bolen. “That work has also led to general aviation having one of the largest caucuses on the Hill of any industry.”
Bolen added that now as always, NBAA often points to the industry’s invaluable roles in providing humanitarian aid and supporting skilled and well-paid jobs. Those messages – communicated to policymakers by NBAA, and echoed by industry through the association’s Contact Congress resource – helped charter operators were eligible for loans and grants, and that accommodations were made to long-standing FAA requirements for medicals and other certificates.
When asked about the upcoming recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, Bolen said, “Unlike past [economic] downturns, this may be one in which business aviation is a leading indicator of recovery rather than a trailing indicator of recovery.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced some new users to business aviation through repatriation missions, and demonstrated the benefits of business aviation in transporting sensitive cargo. Bolen said it’s up to individuals and companies in the industry to turn new clients and customers into returning consumers by continuing to prove the value of business aviation.
When asked about the future, Bolen sounded an optimistic note: “NBAA has an important mission and an important purpose to make our voices heard in the halls of Congress and with the executive branch. We have a strong membership and the wherewithal to move forward regardless of circumstances.”