Oct. 16, 2018

NBAA joined with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Tuesday in sponsoring the No Plane No Gain Media Kick-Off Breakfast ahead of the opening of NBAA’S Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando, FL.

The breakfast gathering – now in its 25th year, nine of which have been under the banner of the No Plane No Gain industry advocacy campaign, offers an important venue to discuss the issues facing the industry with media representatives and reaffirm the importance of general aviation, including business aviation, to companies and communities across the country.

“This is our opportunity to welcome the media, to honor excellence in journalism and report on the key events driving our industry,” said NBAA Chairman Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton. “We look forward to updating you on the events shaping the public image of business aviation, as well as the initiatives we are undertaking to foster an environment in which business aviation can thrive.”

The recent battle against airline-led efforts to push for so-called privatization of ATC was the dominant theme at this year’s event. GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce noted the unprecedented effort from across the general aviation community in defeating the proposal. “We started hearing from GA groups we didn’t even know were out there,” he continued. “In the end, 244 GA groups were focused on this issue, and that really shows the power of our democracy.”

With the privatization battle resolved for the moment, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen turned to what is contained in the five-year FAA reauthorization measure that was recently signed into law. For example, the bill includes reforms to certification and validation standards for aircraft and equipment, and redoubles efforts toward modernization of the national airspace system.

“There’s a hope and belief that with this [privatization] fight off the table, we can now bring our full attention to making NextGen a reality,” Bolen continued. That includes pushing to equip general aviation aircraft with ADS-B capabilities ahead of the FAA’s January 2020 equipage deadline.

Turning toward the aircraft marketplace, GAMA Chair Phil Straub, who serves as vice president and managing director, aviation for Garmin International, noted several positive indications of a strengthening market. “We have a stable and optimistic environment out there,” he said. “Used aircraft inventory is coming down [and] flight hours in the U.S. and Europe are up. That translates into new products.”

“I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be in aviation,” Bunce added. “This must have been what it was like in the 1930s and during the dawn of the jet age.”

That said, a number of concerns for the industry remain, including the need to ensure tomorrow’s workforce demands can be met. To meet that challenge, Bolen once again pointed to the united and powerful voice presented by NBAA and other aviation groups, their members and many more throughout the general aviation community during the privatization battle.

“The level of coordination and communication – not just within the general aviation community, but with a broader group including mayors, city council people [and] consumer groups – it was a broad, coordinated effort,” he said. “The challenge we have in front of us today is how to take those lines of communication and use them to leverage each other’s strengths in addressing workforce concerns.”

The media breakfast also included the presentation of the NBAA Gold Wing award to FLYING Magazine Senior Editor Rob Mark, and a moment of silence for the recent passing of industry veteran and advocate Bruce Whitman.

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