NBAA concludes strong, meaningful show
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today brought to a close its 2017 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), and event organizers reported the show was an all-around success, highlighting the strength of the industry, the host community of Las Vegas, NV, and the association, on its 70th anniversary.
NBAA-BACE was held Oct. 10-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Henderson Executive Airport (HND).
“This year’s show was special in many ways,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “We celebrated NBAA’s 70th anniversary, and how our industry is stronger when we work together. We gathered in the company of aviation leaders and legends, like Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and Capt. Jim Lovell. We saw the launch of exciting new products, and we brought a citywide convention to Las Vegas, which the city welcomed with open arms.”
Bolen said that with this year’s convention, NBAA hoped to “make Las Vegas proud, just as Las Vegas has made America proud.” Before the launch of the show, NBAA Charities made a $10,000 contribution to the Las Vegas Victims Fund, and throughout the event, the association encouraged show participants to contribute to the fund as well. During the show’s opening session, local leaders welcomed attendees, saying, “with all of you, our city will continue to be Las Vegas strong.”
As NBAA-BACE 2017 wrapped, organizers pointed to several indicators of the show’s strength and enduring value:
The event featured about 1,100 exhibitors, including more than 100 new exhibitors. Attendees represented all 50 U.S. states, and dozens of countries. With about 100 aircraft on static display, both at HND and inside the convention center, NBAA-BACE remains the preeminent venue for manufacturers to unveil new models. For example, this year, the Bombardier Global 7000, Gulfstream G600 and Pilatus PC-24 made their debut at the show.
All three days of the show were packed with well-attended education sessions, including half-day programs at the NBAA National Safety Forum and Single-Pilot Safety Standdown. Discussions featured top safety experts and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
On the final day of the show, more than 1,000 students came to NBAA-BACE, many to participate in Careers in Business Aviation Day, hearing from Dreams Soar Founder and around-the-world pilot Shaesta Waiz – plus a chance to interact with industry leaders and potential employers at the College/University Roundtable event.
A charity auction event, held by NBAA and the Corporate Angel Network, raised $435,000 for CAN’s mission to transport cancer patients to treatment centres.
Engaging Opening Sessions
The show’s first two days featured standing-room-only opening sessions with engaging speakers, including local leaders who welcomed attendees to Las Vegas – Rep. Dina Titus (D-1-NV), Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly and MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren – along with top government officials, including FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt.
The sessions also included industry legends: Miracle on the Hudson hero-pilot Sullenberger and astronaut Lovell spoke out against Air Traffic Control (ATC) privatization, during the show’s opening sessions, and in a special NBAA video, urging aviation professionals to use the website www.atcnotforsale.com to tell Congress to oppose ATC privatization.
As part of the show’s second-day opening session, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly shared their adventures on the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and as U.S. Navy aviators.
Advocacy in Focus at NBAA-BACE 2017
This year’s convention took place as debate continued in Washington over the future of the nation’s ATC system. In a media breakfast held just before the show’s opening, general aviation leaders united in mobilizing attendees to oppose legislation that would strip ATC oversight from Congress, and hand that authority over to a private, airline-centric board, unaccountable to the public.
Attendees took many opportunities throughout the week to send messages to Congress against ATC privatization, on their mobile devices and using dedicated personal devices on the show floor. Signage, lapel stickers and other promotional items visible throughout the exhibit hall and the static display of aircraft further encouraged attendees to contact their elected officials during the convention week at the show.
Marking a Milestone
NBAA-BACE show-goers also had many opportunities at the convention to celebrate the association’s milestone 70th anniversary. A key feature of the event was a large, three-dimensional, moving “NBAA70” wall, filled with signatures from those wanting to be a part of the occasion.
The 70th anniversary was also celebrated at the static display of aircraft at HND, with the inclusion of a “70th Anniversary Row,” where a 1946 Douglas DC-3 business aircraft joined other vintage aircraft from business aviation’s early days.
“As we draw the curtain on NBAA-BACE 2017 and our 70th anniversary, we leave Las Vegas inspired by the passion and dedication in the business aviation community, and excited for the industry’s future,” said Bolen.
Bolen added that NBAA is looking forward to 2018, when NBAA-BACE returns to Orlando, FL on Oct. 16–18.