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On Final: The power of business aviation

In September, the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) launched a comprehensive awareness and advocacy campaign entitled Business Aviation Works! and designed to raise awareness of the importance of business aviation as an economic enabler for businesses large and small, and to persuade Transport Canada to handle our sector in a more responsive way.


November 3, 2011
By Sam Barone

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In September, the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) launched a comprehensive awareness and advocacy campaign entitled Business Aviation Works! and designed to raise awareness of the importance of business aviation as an economic enabler for businesses large and small, and to persuade Transport Canada to handle our sector in a more responsive way.

Business Aviation Works! takes direct aim at MPs and senior government officials. Its launch was timed to coincide with the opening of the new session of Parliament, and to be in the field before the government releases its proposed business aviation regulations (anticipated to be published in the Canada Gazette I before the end of the year). Once the draft regulations are released, we have only a short window of time (perhaps not more than 30 days) to influence the final set of regulations that will determine how BiZav will be managed by government in the future.

We have two serious concerns. The first is Transport Canada’s service levels, which could take weeks or months to certify an aircraft. Planes that should be facilitating trade and commerce are grounded, awaiting certification. The issue is so severe that operators have been forced to seek commercial certification or certify in the United States or overseas. The opportunity cost to Canadian businesses is enormous. The CBAA has developed realistic and practical solutions that will speed up the process, while addressing Transport Canada’s requirements. We would like to see these implemented as quickly as possible.

The second issue is the government’s proposed move to a 704-type regulatory regime, which was designed for commercial passengers, not business aviation users. This unwarranted step would make Canada’s business aviation sector the most regulated, and therefore, the most uncompetitive, in the world. Our goal is to implement a regulatory framework that is commensurate with the real risks and in line with U.S. business aviation regulations.

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), with CBAA’s full participation, has already developed comprehensive standards that would fulfil the most exacting regulatory requirements – the International Standards for Business Aviation Operators (IS-BAO). These have been designed to be fully applicable in Canada, and can be adopted easily by the government as the Canadian – and global – “gold standard” for business aviation.

Since spring of 2010, the CBAA has been meeting with officials at Transport Canada to suggest these, and other reasonable measures, for managing business aviation safely and responsively. We’ve made the business aviation case, but that is only part of a larger story.

Business Aviation Works! was created to ensure that government understands what is at risk for ordinary Canadians, over and above the business aviation sector, if our issues are not resolved.

The campaign highlights how business aviation is critical to communities and economic opportunity, supporting dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses and improving the quality of life and mobility for the millions of Canadians who do not have easy access to commercial air services. Small manufacturers, tourism providers, resource developers and others rely on business aviation to connect, trade and give Canadian business a leg up in a highly competitive international market.

Business Aviation Works! asks everyone who has a stake in our industry to write to their MPs personally and raise awareness of our sector and its importance to both the local and Canadian economies. An MP cannot ignore a letter from a business leader living and working in his or her constituency. Dozens or hundreds of personal appeals sent to MPs in ridings across the country sends a powerful message.

The success of Business Aviation Works! depends on you. The most important thing you can do for your business – and sector – is to write to your MPs, and help make them active, knowledgeable champions of our industry. The more voices we add, the more powerful we will be.  The CBAA has developed a number of tools to make this easy for you, starting with our website: http://www.cbaa-acaa.ca/en/advocacy/business-aviation-works. Here, there is a template letter, key messages and more. We also have a dedicated email address, getinvolved@cbaa.ca, to provide support and answer any questions.

The long-term viability of the Canadian business aviation market is critical on so many levels. Let’s help keep it thriving for years to come.



Sam Barone is the president and CEO of the Canadian Business Aviation Association in Ottawa.