Dear Florida Aviation Business Association Members,
On behalf of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), I want to extend a warm welcome to those members with the Florida Aviation Business Association (FABA) – and everyone in the business aviation community – as we prepare for another NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), being held once again this year in Orlando, Florida.
The Sunshine State is always a great fit for NBAA-BACE – after all, Orlando is an outstanding host city for the show, and more broadly speaking, aviation is an essential part of Florida’s economy. Florida ranks first in the country for U.S. aviation manufacturing attractiveness, according to a 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study.
Furthermore, the state’s 21 commercial, 107 general aviation and 12 major military airports support roughly 1 million jobs and generate more than $97 billion annually in economic activity, according to the Welcome to Florida Aviation study, published in March 2010. Florida’s general aviation airports alone provide 54,250 jobs with a payroll of $1.8 billion and contribute $6 billion in total economic activity in the state.
NBAA’s convention further advances this economic good-news story: the show, which ranks among the largest that takes place at the Orange County Convention Center, contributes an estimated $50 million to the city’s economy. This year, the event will once again demonstrate the industry’s size, scope and significance – not just in Florida, but nationwide.
Of course, while business aviation is essential in Florida and across America, we know that it is also an industry confronted by challenges when it comes to policy proposals at the local and federal levels.
Take for example the ongoing push in Washington, DC, to create a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, funded by new user fees – a concept being promoted as part of the Congressional debate underway over reauthorization of funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
As FABA members have likely heard me say before, the reality of a privatized ATC funded by user fees is that such a setup would effectively give control of the ATC system to the airlines. Once they are granted such authority, they will make the decisions about which communities get served, where investments are made, when and how much it will cost to fly, and what the payment mechanism for doing so (including user fees) will be.
I mention this policy battle in part because FABA members deserve an enormous amount of credit for echoing NBAA’s position in this debate with their outspoken opposition to the concept of ATC privatization funded by user fees. NBAA thanks you for your mobilization on this matter of critical importance.
But, I also mention this issue because at our convention this year, we’ll recognize someone else whose leadership has been vital to this debate. I’m referring to Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), whose tireless work as a champion for our industry will be recognized with NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, the business aviation industry’s most distinguished honor.
Throughout his more than four decades of service to the people of Florida, Sen. Nelson has remained an outspoken advocate for business aviation, continually citing its economic importance to the Sunshine State, and across the country.
This year, as the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Sen. Nelson cosponsored the committee’s bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill that addressed a number of priorities identified by NBAA and other organizations, and rejected the notion of creating a privatized ATC system, funded through user fees.
His support for our industry on this matter is only the latest example of his dedication to supporting all efforts to preserve America’s leadership, not just in aviation, but also in our aerospace and military capabilities, and we applaud him for his service to our country. It will be an honor to recognize the Senator at this year’s NBAA-BACE. Of course, as important as it will be to recognize government leaders like Sen. Nelson at our convention, we know that the event is always so much more, and that will be the case this year as well.
NBAA-BACE brings the business aviation community together all in one place. Over 1,100 exhibitors, displaying every manner of product and service for business aviation, await attendees in the sold-out exhibit hall at the OCCC.
Nearly 100 aircraft will be on display throughout two sold-out static displays, including NBAA’s largest-ever indoor static display inside the OCCC. This indoor display complements the expansive outdoor static display at nearby Orlando Executive Airport (ORL) offering an even greater variety of business aircraft of all sizes.
As with all NBAA events, NBAA2016 will also include several education sessions focused areas of interest for business aviation operators worldwide, including sessions clarifying the latest developments in aircraft maintenance technologies; the growing use of digital, fly-by-wire flight controls; advancing your flight department’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP); the cybersecurity landscape affecting business aviation, including international regulations on data privacy and the threat of hackers; and the growing use internationally of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones.
The NBAA Security Council will also present its overview of current security and customs issues concerning business aviation, covering best practices for safety and security for those traveling abroad. Another session will highlight training requirements for the International Standards for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO), including recommendations for pilots, mechanics, cabin crew, scheduler/dispatchers, line service, and administrative personnel.
Safety will also be an important focus during NBAABACE, including the return of NBAA’s Single-Pilot Safety Standdown, a day-long event featuring presentations from top industry experts, and panel discussions on topics such as best practices and areas of concern will offer attendees a variety of perspectives on today’s most pressing safety issues. On Thursday, Nov. 3, NBAA’s second-annual National Safety Forum will bring together top government and industry leaders to discuss the principal safety issues confronting business aviation operators.
Impressive guest speakers are another hallmark of NBAA events, and NBAA-BACE 2016 will welcome several industry legends and leaders to the session stage. That includes our featured speakers at the Nov. 1 Opening General Session: David McCullough, author of New York Times bestseller The Wright Brothers, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.
With the U.S. presidential election taking place less than a week after NBAA-BACE, political veterans James Carville and Mary Matalin will return to NBAA-BACE to provide their enlightening and entertaining perspectives about the 2016 election year landscape at the Second-Day Opening Session on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Convention attendees who reside in Florida should find this session of particular interest, given the state’s prominence in presidential election cycles.
NBAA-BACE also offers many networking opportunities, including the NBAA Coffee Social, and NBAA’s Young Professionals in Business Aviation (YoPro) reception. Thursday is Careers in Business Aviation Day, where NBAA hopes to inspire the next generation of industry leaders by exposing local high school and middle school students to the many career paths available in our exciting industry.
Without question, NBAA-BACE offers a powerful and impressive venue in which to demonstrate this vital American industry’s size and scope with congressional lawmakers, local elected officials, and other influential policymakers. I look forward to visiting with everyone from Florida’s business aviation community at the Orlando County Convention Center as NBAA-BACE gets underway.
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association