NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen exuded much optimism for the business aviation industry in 2021 at a town hall forum yesterday afternoon during the association’s virtual Flight Operations conference. He noted that the business aviation sector has recovered at a much faster pace than the airlines since the pandemic lockdown period in March and April last year, though he conceded that international travel still remains difficult.
According to Bolen, this recovery will gain more steam midyear as “we reach Covid-19 herd immunity” thanks to higher vaccination rates. He urged NBAA members to “reduce risk by following the science”—much like they would for any other aviation safety issue—and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
While business aviation typically lags in economic recoveries, Bolen believes that this time the industry “might be a leading indicator of the U.S. recovery” since business aircraft have emerged as a safer way to travel during the pandemic. Because of this, he expects company aircraft usage to increase exponentially as international travel restrictions ease, while aircraft could also be made available to more employees. In addition, he said it is likely the industry will retain many of the new charter customers gained during the pandemic.
Bolen was also equally bullish about holding an in-person NBAA BACE in October. “I’ll see all of you in Las Vegas for the show," he stated.