Following a mini-concert by local four-time Grammy-winning songwriter Josh Kear, NBAA’s 2023 Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference kicked off its opening session this morning in Nashville, Tennessee.
As the first show in the organization’s schedule this year, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen explained that with the new year came a new Congress, one which among other tasks will have to negotiate a new FAA reauthorization. The aviation agency was last authorized in 2018 and that will sunset this year.
“I think we all know there are lots of opportunities to try to work together to foster an environment that allows business aviation to thrive by helping the FAA itself function in a way that allows us to thrive,” said Bolen. He added that he sees the potential for improvement in the FAA registry and its rulemaking process, “and to make sure we are set up withstand any budgetary issues or government shutdowns.” As part of that process though, he warned that some “bad ideas” will likely emerge, ones which will require the business aviation community members to voice their opinion with their local elected representatives.
Bolen noted the industry’s focus on sustainability and the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel through its championing of the Blender’s Tax Credit to incentivize production. "It has been made a priority for the [Biden] administration and it has become something that is clearly a priority for Congress," he told the audience. “It’s imperative for our industry to be a leader in sustainability to meet our goal to be net-zero by 2050 and we’re going to look for opportunities this year in a legislative way to do that.”
Workforce issues are on NBAA’s radar as well. “We’re also going to look to build on the work that has been done in past congresses to create things like the Women in Aviation Advisory Board and the FAA’s Youth Taskforce to help us bring in new people to our industry,” Bolen told the audience. “For our industry to survive and thrive in the future, we need to attract, develop and retain the best and the brightest, and that means we need a diversity of thought and a diversity of backgrounds.”
Calling this an “incredibly exciting” time for the industry, Bolen also pointed to the innovation in technologies that are taking place in electric propulsion and advanced air mobility (AAM). “Once again we’ve been able to get the White House to say that’s a good thing and get Congress to pass laws last year on the leadership and coordination of AAM and on planning grants,” he noted. “This is an opportunity for us as an organization to transition from the 75 years that took us to where we are, to use 2023 as an opportunity to focus like a laser on the 75 years ahead of us.”