Saying that there is no way that NBAA’s regional representatives can be the association’s eyes and ears at every airport and in every nook and cranny of the industry, Robert Blouin, founder and president of the newly formed Greater Washington Business Aviation Association (GWBAA), promised that the association would be a resource for the NBAA.
Nearly 60 representatives of business aircraft operators, FBOs, corporations, consultants and other entities attended the first membership meeting of GWBAA held at the virtually unused Signature Flight Support facility at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in late February.
At the session, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told the group that in addition to redoubling efforts to work with Congress and the executive branch, NBAA wants to reach out and work effectively at the state and local levels.
“And that’s why organizations such as this one are really so important to us,” he said, because “there really is a limited amount that a national association can do at a local and regional level.” Bolen noted that NBAA has only six regional representatives to cover all 50 states.
“You can do the math on that and realize that the level of in-depth coverage that we can provide is going to be limited,” he explained. “So what we believe in fundamentally as an operating method is that if we can help facilitate and promote local and regional groups, they can be there on the front lines.”
Bolen said that local organizations can alert NBAA to local issues that might have national ramifications, and that in turn the NBAA wants to provide support to the greatest extent possible.
“We need to be pointed in the right direction at the local level,” he said, “because we’re not as aware of the local sensitivities. While NBAA is dedicated to representing the interests of business aviation in Washington, we can’t do that alone. We can spend a lot of time on Capitol Hill, we can give a lot of speeches, but at the end of the day, our effectiveness is going to be determined by how active our grassroots will be.”
The GWBAA was established to provide a voice and forum for the local business aviation community in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. An organizational meeting was held in January.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to ensure the interests of local business aviation companies are properly represented before local, state, regulatory and legislative bodies,” said Blouin. “Our immediate goal is to provide a forum for local business aviation interests to collectively share concerns, thoughts and ideas. Regional groups have been successful in other parts of the country.”