This year’s CBAA annual convention and trade show returns to Calgary at the height of the world famous Stampede.
This year’s Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) annual
convention and trade show returns to Calgary at the height of the world
famous Stampede. Rich Gage, CBAA president and CEO suggests it is
unfair to draw too many comparisons between business aviation and the
rough and tumble of hog tying and bronco busting. Still, there is no
denying that both have been on a bit of a wild ride.
Business aviation in Canada continues to take its share of hits through inconsistent regulation and excessive taxation.
Business aviation in Canada did not fully realize the growth first
expected of it post September 11th 2001. It has a better chance of
doing so in 2003, and not just due to security considerations and the
turmoil in Canada's airline industry. There are signs that a
mini-revolution in Canadian corporate aviation is on the horizon.
The fractional ownership concept (flexible timeshare by another name),
so popular in the United States, is finally gaining traction in this
country, albeit with some regulatory hiccups and logistical challenges
linked to population and geography. Meanwhile, a new generation of
lowcost business jets as defined by the Eclipse 500 (less than US$1
million per aircraft, with 10 Canadian orders to-date), has the
potential to do for business aviation in Canada what WestJet did for
commercial air travel.
The most immediate shift, however, will
be corporations relying less on expensive in-house flight departments
and costly under-utilized airplanes and more on management companies
that will transport executives and provide revenue-generating charter
services to other companies when the aircraft is not needed. This
explains why executive charter is up, but aircraft sales remain
sluggish. And why most fixed based operators (FBOs) that handle these
aircraft are hesitant to expand. This is especially true in Alberta and
Atlantic Canada, where growth is too closely tied to performance in the