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On Final: Making a difference

The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) has made significant gains for Canadian business aviation in the past two years.

May 8, 2012  By Sam Barone

The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) has made significant gains for Canadian business aviation in the past two years. As an industry advocate, we have two primary goals. The first is to differentiate business aviation from other aviation sectors, to ensure that we have a regulatory and business framework that is appropriate to the scale and scope of our members. The second is to solve specific local or regional issues that affect individual members.

The Harper majority government gives us (and bureaucrats) the ability to plan
in terms of years, not months.


I am pleased to report that steady – and measurable – progress has been made on both fronts. The Harper majority government gives us (and bureaucrats) the ability to plan in terms of years, not months. Our complete commitment to advocacy ensures that we can keep up the pressure – educating, informing, and persuading. The CBAA is changing how decision-makers think about, and respond to, business aviation.

For example, on the development of new regulations, CBAA continues to work collaboratively with Transport Canada to determine the best way forward for both the regulator and private operators. A focus group discussion with stakeholders held in the spring was a welcome opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with the regulator. Until the regulatory framework is finalized and ready for formal consultation through the Canada Gazette, the Interim Order that is currently in place is expected to be renewed.


The CBAA is also working with the Canada Border Services Agency to deal with facilitation and access issues, both national and port-specific. This relationship has proved so effective that our organizations have mutually agreed to hold regular meetings to continue to identify and resolve emerging issues. Working with the National Business Aviation Association, we have a new North American focus on our issues too, given the large business aviation activities between Canada and the U.S. On this front, our ultimate vision would be to have preclearance at FBOs.

CBAA is also working with TC, International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Business Aviation Council to mitigate the onerous impacts of the Emissions Trading System. The cap and trade scheme continues to be fought vigorously by countries outside the European Union zone, putting its future into doubt.

Our work doesn’t stop with government or regulatory issues. For example, we are in constant contact with airport managers. Now, airports on a regular basis, ask for our input on their master planning process and even ask for CBAA input to manage specific issues such as de-icing.

We have advanced the cause of business aviation, and we’ve only just begun. I think there are two reasons for our success. The first is we have “changed the narrative.” Just as taxis, private vehicles and public transit are different modes of transportation, and are regulated differently, so business aviation is no longer thought of as “something like” general aviation on one hand, or “close to” commercial aviation on the other. BizAv is finally being recognized as a completely different type of aviation service, requiring its own set of rules.

The second reason for our success is our members, who have stuck with the CBAA during its transition, and have provided both guidance and support, making sure that our resources are aimed in the right direction. Their trust in us has paid off. The CBAA, and the entire business aviation community, owes them a debt of gratitude. Any benefit that accrues to our industry – from a reasonable regulatory regime, to better access and facilitation, to reduced red tape and costs – has the CBAA membership to thank.

There is still a lot of work ahead. Although the CBAA has helped change the way that government thinks of business aviation, it is only a beginning. We have to continually reinforce our messages and consolidate our gains. We will continue to be on the front lines of government action. We will keep working to resolve problems for our general membership and for individual members. We will ensure our members have access to the most important and most recent information, first.

I will not bore you by saying these are challenging times – all times are challenging in their own ways. The difference in 2012, and beyond, is that for the first time in recent memory, business aviation is being dealt with as a separate, but equal, aviation sector. It’s a huge step forward, and I hope the first of many more to come.|


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