After 30 years, European bizav association stronger than ever

EBACE Convention News » 2007
May 4, 2007, 11:56 AM

March marked the 30th anniversary of the creation of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). Since 1977, the Brussels-based group has defended the concerns of an industry that is steadily expanding. From modest beginnings, EBAA now represents the interests of more than 300 business aviation companies in Europe and a fleet of more than 600 aircraft.

After a period of stagnation throughout the 1990s, business aviation in Europe has been growing at a rate of more than 5 percent each year and currently boasts a fleet of more than 2,800 registered aircraft–a greater than 25 percent increase since 2000.

In addition to directly representing its members and promoting business aviation, EBAA has three other strategic goals: to adopt a positive and constructive influence; to focus on safety and security; and to maintain a global presence through its relations with both the U.S. National Business Aviation Association and the International Business Aviation Council (of which it is a founding member).

EBAA is currently represented on many key working groups at the following bodies: the European Commission, the European Civil Aviation Conference, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the European Aviation Safety Agency and Eurocontrol. It is also active in ad-hoc groups established to discuss matters such as air traffic management, airports, environment, security and safety.

Representing Bizav’s Interests
Despite a strong professional presence in meetings, EBAA has always needed to recruit more experts to maintain contacts with key people and hold high-level meetings with European officials and also to provide speakers on the conference circuit. For instance, under Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky (SES) project, EBAA is working in close cooperation with Serge Lebourg of Dassault Aviation to provide business aviation’s contribution on the performance requirements for the SESAR implementation program for Europe’s future ATM system.

As an ad-hoc member of the European Union aircraft emissions working group, EBAA made recommendations to Eurocontrol, convincing the latter to update its Pagoda emissions model to more accurately reflect business aircraft’s actual emission rates for carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The air traffic control agency also agrees with EBAA’s position that small emitters could be exempt from the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) under the “polluter pays” principle. Eurocontrol has also accepted EBAA’s argument that the costs of managing the ETS system and its economic impact on operators must not exceed the environmental benefit and should be “proportionate and affordable” to small and medium-size companies.

The rapid and sustained success of the annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) have provided a major boost for EBAA, particularly affording much-needed funds to support the group’s growing role. Since the show was launched here in Geneva in 2001, the number of exhibit spaces has increased by some 150 booths and at this year’s event, the number of attendees could exceed 10,000.

After holding a series of regional forums at Paris Le Bourget, London Biggin Hill and Farnborough airports over the past few years, EBAA is abandoning this program, partly due to exhibitor concern that these events were scheduled too close to EBACE or other shows. “We have decided to adjust the format for regional events in the light of customer feedback and now propose to hold regional meetings with local officials and business partners to address local issues as required, rather than go for more widely based regional forums,” Gwen Brugallé, EBAA convention and seminars manager, told EBACE Convention News.

This year the association has already held one of these targeted meetings, in Madrid, largely to tackle the restrictions on business aircraft access to the Spanish capital’s Torrejon air base. It is now planning a similar meeting in Berlin–most likely to be held in early September–in support of the campaign to keep the downtown Tempelhof Airport open. EBAA board members attend these meetings to provide informed representation to local politicians and officials.

Over three decades EBAA’s work has made a tangible difference in protecing business aviation interests. For more information about EBAA, visit the association’s completely revamped Web site at www.ebaa.org.

EBAA MILESTONES

1975: The management of the Dutch Philips Group decided to create an association that would be capable of representing business aviation in Europe.

1977: In March, Dr. Ir. F.J. Philips founded the International Business Aviation Association (Europe). It was set up in The Netherlands with 12 founding members.

1984: The association moved to Brussels, Belgium, and became known as the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).

1990-2006: After initiating its successful series of annual meeting in Brussels, in 2001 EBAA took the next step by creating the more ambitious EBACE exhibition in cooperation with its U.S. partner, the National Business Aviation Association.

2007: Today, EBAA membership boasts around 270 individual members and national associations.

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