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President’s Perspective

Business Aviation Is Resilient, Even in Headwinds

Business aviation has always been about innovation and resilience. That enterprising spirit will be on display at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which will be a transformational event celebrating how we have met the enormous challenges of the last couple years.

Besides dealing with the pandemic’s near-term impact on business aviation travel, our sector is also taking steps to ensure the industry’s future viability. The successful outcomes we’ve had this year regarding two long-standing policy concerns exemplify this can-do attitude.

First, when the FAA unveiled its Pilot Records Database (PRD) program, several provisions were deemed unworkable, including the establishment of a single, possibly precedent-setting, definition of “corporate flight department,” along with a. number of onerous proposed reporting requirements.

In response, NBAA and its members communicated their concerns to the FAA, which issued a final rule eliminating the “corporate flight department” definition and exempting many operators from the most burdensome reporting mandates. As the PRD program rolls out, I encourage NBAA members to access our online resource, the Pilot Records Database Resource Guide.

Another important issue that our community worked together to resolve is the inconsistency in the process for obtaining Part 91 letters of authorization (LOAs). Cumbersome and duplicative procedures have often led to substantial delays in putting new aircraft into service, preventing them from flying as designed while operators waited to receive LOAs. It now appears that a streamlined process will be available in 2022, thanks to collaborative efforts by an FAA-industry working group that included NBAA members.

While we are pleased with these outcomes, we need to continue to address longer-term challenges, including furthering aviation’s sustainability. Business aviation’s carbon footprint has been steadily reduced through introduction of lightweight composite materials, increasingly efficient engines, fuel-saving winglets and other technologies. As a result, aircraft today are cleaner and quieter than ever.

But more must be done. That’s why NBAA is promoting ways to increase the production, availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels, including championing the creation of a blender’s tax credit to incentivize SAF production. Meanwhile, NBAA’s second annual Business Aviation Sustainability Summit, to be held during NBAA-BACE, will spotlight SAF’s benefits and other ways operators are leading the way toward sustainability.

Looking to the future, NBAA is championing other transformational technologies, such as advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicles, and that focus will also be in view at NBAA-BACE, with the AAM Zone showcasing these new electric or hybrid-electric aircraft.

Business aviation’s future is bright, and NBAA is pleased to move forward with you as the industry continues to innovate and adapt as quickly as ever.

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