NBAA chief executive Ed Bolen thinks the organization’s recent battle to stave off ATC privatization efforts and FAA reauthorization are lessons its members can use to address the business aviation industry’s next big test: the pilot and maintenance technician shortage. Some of those lessons, Bolen told attendees at the opening session of the NBAA Regional Forum today in Houston, can be applied at the member level to drive interest among high school and college students to consider careers in business aviation.
“It’s a serious challenge,” Bolen said of the shortages. “It’s a significant challenge. But what a great challenge for an industry that has spent the better part of the last several years learning how to coordinate and communicate at a local level [and] learning how to articulate who we are and what makes business aviation special.”
Bolen said such an effort will involve all 70 business aviation regional, state, and local groups, as well as airports and companies. “We’re…asking everyone to be an ambassador,” he said. “Talk about who we are. Celebrate who we are. Bring the people in.”
The forum, held at Million Air’s FBO at Hobby Airport (HOU), was expected to attract 1,700 attendees, NBAA said. More than 170 companies are exhibiting inside Million Air’s hangar and 23 aircraft are on static display on the ramp outside.