NBAA and AOPA said yesterday they will co-host a series of Light Business Airplane (LBA) conferences starting next year. Two LBA conferences will be held in 2010, the first in conjunction with the NBAA Convention in Atlanta next October and the second at AOPA’s Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., the following month.
National Business Aviation Association
Mid-show through this year’s NBAA Convention, the general mood, at least among exhibitors, was one of both cautious optimism and lowered expectations.
It would have been impossible to open the 62nd NBAA Convention without squaring off with the 500-pound economic gorilla in the room. NBAA president Ed Bolen didn’t mince words: “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been quite a year.”
Yesterday during the NBAA Awards Luncheon, Olivier Dassault accepted the NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award for his father, Serge, who wasn’t able to attend due to other business in Europe. The elder Dassault was chosen for NBAA’s most distinguished honor because he is “one of the most innovative leaders in business aviation,” according to NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. Serge is currently chairman and CEO of Dassault Group.
It would have been next to impossible to open the 62nd NBAA Convention this morning in Orlando, Fla., without squarely aiming at the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the state of the U.S. economy. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen didn’t mince words, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been quite a year.” FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt also talked about the need for a safety management system to take aviation safety to the next level.
Recent negative portrayals of business aviation are inconsistent with the true nature of the industry, according to a poll released by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and NBAA today released a new survey showing that recent portrayals of business aviation as mainly “fat cats” flying in large-cabin jets are inaccurate.
The NBAA Convention exhibitor count has grown to more than 1,000 companies showing their products and services at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., and more than 100 aircraft are expected to be on static display at Orlando Executive Airport during the show next Tuesday through Thursday.
“Interesting” is perhaps an understated word to use in reviewing the tumultuous recent period the business aviation community has gone through, but that is the word outgoing NBAA chairman Jeff Lee chose to describe his two-year tenure, which ends at this year’s annual meeting. Lee, IBM’s director of flight operations, took over the post from Ken Emerick in 2007 and has led the board through several stiff challenges to business aviation.
As NBAA returns to Orlando for its annual gathering, there seem to be reasons for optimism but not outright giddiness. There is no doubt that the economy is the number-one topic for delegates at the 62nd Annual Meeting and Convention.