With the general elections less than two months away, the business aviation industry should expect a continuing debate on the possibility of ATC privatization. That was the message from NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen as he opened the association's regional forum at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, this morning. “This is not a fight that is going to go away,” he said. Indeed, at the Airlines for America (A4A) summit in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday , A4A chairman and American Airlines president and CEO Doug Parker warned of "myths and distortions" by "corporate jet lobbyists who accuse the commercial airlines of plotting to take over the air traffic control system through privatization..."
Meanwhile, Bolen called today's event a “celebration of business aviation,” noting the jobs and economic development it fosters. Westchester County executive Robert Astorino acknowledged the industry's impact, stating, "Whatever it is that we can do to make your life easier, we will try to do, because we want you here.”
The one-day forum kicked off this morning with 184 exhibitors and 50 aircraft on static display. The show is expected to attract several thousand visitors, bringing it close in size to NBAA's co-organized annual ABACE show in Shanghai.
The session concluded with the presentation of the association’s Order of the Silk Scarf to Westchester Aviation Association’s John Johnston, the former director of flight operations for Verizon and McGraw-Hill. He is currently a contract corporate pilot.