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NBAA: Opening keynote address ‘looks towards future’

NBAA has reported on the opening keynote address at the ongoing NBAA-BACE convention in Orlando, FL, US. The report can be read below.

“The Day 1 Keynote at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) brought a sense of enthusiasm, as a business aviation community invigorated by its recent victory in striking down so-called privatization of ATC services looks now to applying that energy and purpose toward securing the industry’s future.

Standing on a stage flanked by actual aircraft, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recalled the important role NBAA members played in ensuring privatization was not included in the FAA reauthorization bill signed into law earlier this month.

“It was a remarkable community effort,” he said. “We made our voices heard in the halls of Congress and reached out to those we knew understood our industry, and who were our champions.”

Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-4-LA), one of the fiercest opponents of ATC privatization, said he recognized the issue not only as a potential threat to general aviation, but also to national security.

He also emphasized the role aviation organizations and advocacy groups had in defeating the latest effort to privatize ATC, with NBAA members leading the charge and rallying industry support.

“Without the large team I’m looking at here at NBAA, along with GAMA, EAA and AOPA, we would be having a very different conversation [about ATC privatization] than we’re having today,” he added.

FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell noted long-term nature of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 allows the FAA to focus on its NextGen efforts to modernize the national airspace system.

“Business aviation has always been very helpful when it comes to supporting modernization, especially when it comes to adopting new technologies,” Elwell told attendees. “We need you to keep moving forward with us.”

Moving forward is also one of the core values for Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest automotive rental and leasing company. Enterprise President and CEO Pamela Nicholson and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Christine Taylor related how their company’s storied past informs and influences its future.

“Enterprise continues to be a great American story,” Taylor said. “It’s about knowing what you are and what your core competencies are: mission, discipline, integrity and having fun. That resonates throughout our organization.”

Nicholson also emphasized the role of business aviation as an essential tool helping Enterprise manage operations in thousands of offices and locations around the globe.

“We could not get done what we get done in business today without the aviation [assets] we have,” she said, noting the company purchased its first aircraft, a Beechcraft King Air C90, in 1976.

Next, Eric Allison, head of aviation programs for urban mobility enterprise Uber Elevate, briefed attendees on the development of a real-time, on-demand, global network of “aerial ridesharing” vehicles through partnerships with eVTOL manufacturers as well as real estate developers, technology developers and others.

“This effort was borne out of the observation that, around the world, traffic and congestion are not getting better,” he said. “Uber Elevate is here to think about urban aviation as the next thing to connect us together.”

As has become NBAA-BACE tradition, the first-day’s opening event closed with the presentation of NBAA’s Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership, recognizing those who use aviation in service to others.

NBAA presented this year’s award to renowned airshow performer Sean D. Tucker and the Bob Hoover Academy, which Tucker co-founded in 2016 to inspire underprivileged youth through exposure to aviation.

Tucker accepted the recognition accompanied by program graduate Martin Mendez, who was recently hired as an A&P for a regional airline and is now undertaking flight training.

“This [effort] is all about letting the kids out there know their dreams are valid,” Tucker said. “We’re giving them something to believe in, and someone to believe in them… It doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are; you aren’t relevant if you’re not paying it back.”