June 23, 2022
Cloudy skies couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd at the 2022 NBAA White Plains Regional Forum at New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN) – the association’s first forum at the site in several years.
“It’s been nice to see existing clients and network with them face-to-face,” said Ken Wilczek, CEO of Bespoke Transportation. “It looks like there’s great show attendance, which is positive for the area as well as the industry. It’s been good from a business development standpoint, as we’re talking with new and potential clients. I think it was time well spent and resources well spent.”
About 2,500 attendees came out for NBAA’s second, and last, regional forum of 2022. The event featured nearly 200 exhibitors on a sold-out show floor, and 16 aircraft on display, which had a steady stream of attendees waiting in lines to check out the planes.
“The show’s been great,” said Michael Ellis, business development manager with SkyMark Refuelers. “It’s an opportunity to see a lot of people, in one location, in a short amount of time.”
Tom Chapman, vice president of sales with Volato, added, “It’s been a steady stream of people coming by…it’s very encouraging for us to be here.”
Bolen: The Future Looks Bright
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed the crowd back to HPN – one of the largest general aviation airports in the country – after three years away during the pandemic. He noted that business aircraft operations were up during the pandemic as more people turned to the industry to get where they needed to go.
The demand created jobs, not only for pilots, controllers and technicians, but for those who clean aircraft, sell parts and services – virtually everyone involved in the business aviation ecosystem.
“The future of business aviation has never looked brighter,” declared Bolen. “We’re emerging from the pandemic stronger than we have been. We’re bigger, we’re focused and we have incredible opportunities ahead of us.”
Looking ahead, business aviation is ready to welcome new types of aircraft, such as advanced air mobility vehicles, and new technologies to promote sustainability, such as electric propulsion.
“The industry needs to ensure we can continue to have access to airports and airspace, and be safe, secure and sustainable,” added Bolen.
To do this, the NBAA CEO encouraged those gathered to remain engaged, especially as a new FAA reauthorization bill is on the horizon. “Our ability to shape our future depends on you,” he said. “We need to be engaged to shape our future.”
He also urged attendees to continue working to attract the best and the brightest to business aviation, including those from traditionally underrepresented communities. Equally as important, he noted, is the need to remain committed to becoming a more sustainable industry in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
“We adopt technologies, we work together, we find ways to grow and support each other,” he said. “Let’s create a foundation that enables business aviation to realize its full potential for decades to come.”
In addition to Bolen’s presentation, education sessions at the forum focused on privacy in the ADS-B era, making a difference in your region, environmental sustainability, and a student session on career paths in business aviation.
NBAA plans to host two regional forums in 2023. Locations, dates and other details regarding these events will be released in the coming months.