Jan. 28, 2021
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recently met with three regional groups to discuss the state of business aviation today and share his optimism for the industry’s future.
In virtual events, Bolen met with the Chicago Business Aviation Association (CBAA), the Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA) and the newly formed Iowa Business Aviation Association (IBAA), presenting themes the industry can build upon in 2021: sustainability, emerging technologies and workforce development, in part through diversity and inclusion.
Of course, he said, COVID-19 changed the course of 2020 and continues to impact business aviation in 2021.
“It affected us on a personal level, on a company level, on a community and country level,” Bolen told CBAA members, adding the pandemic demonstrated the resilience of and innovation in business aviation. “We found ways to get things done and we found ways to support each other.”
To CABA attendees, Bolen expanded on this, saying, “But now we are entering a new year. And I think we have an opportunity to look back and say what was 2020. And I think in a lot of ways, it was a year of resilience. It gave us an opportunity as a community to do what we’ve always done, which is communicate, share experiences, work together to solve problems and ultimately find ways to move forward.”
As Bolen looked ahead to 2021, he told attendees he sees potential for significant growth in the business aviation community, demonstrated through first-time charter customers, increasing jet card purchases and new fractional owners.
Bolen encouraged attendees to turn the tragedy of the pandemic into opportunity, telling them to “really take advantage of the fact that a lot of people for the first time experienced what it was like to be able to go wherever you want to when you need to, and to be able to turn travel time into very productive work time.”
“We had an opportunity last year to introduce ourselves to new people, to a new market,” Bolen explained to IBAA attendees.
NBAA partners with more than 70 autonomous state, local and regional business aviation groups around the country to advocate for the industry.
“Connecting with state and local business aviation groups is so important to NBAA’s mission,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA’s regional programs manager and Southwestern regional representative. “Participating with these groups helps us identify key issues and focus our efforts on what is most important to our membership. State and local groups also provide a critical connection to state and local legislators and policymakers.”