A resilient industry moving forward 

Ed Bolen is President and CEO the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) This remains an unquestionably challenging time for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in countless ways, including many sweeping changes to how our industry conducts business and remains connected. As we all continue to navigate this unprecedented situation, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is focused as never before on being your definitive, authoritative source for information, and your platform for connecting in new ways, so we can lead during and out of this crisis together. To that end, we want to be sure you’re aware of three truly game-changing events for connecting people in a way that helps everyone move not just online, but ahead. The first event in this regard was our inaugural, completely immersive Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (VBACE) that took place December 2-3. VBACE – held on a state-of-the-art platform – featured three-dimensional exhibit booths, allowing show-goers to fully engage with a broad, diverse and enthusiastic group of exhibitors from around the globe, including OEMs such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Cirrus, Dassault, Embraer, Honda Aircraft Company, Pilatus, Pratt & Whitney, Textron Aviation and others. Dynamic and engaging keynote speakers are another staple of NBAA events, and each day of VBACE included inspirational messages from the aviation community and beyond. For example, the show kicked off with critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley, a nationwide headliner whose brand is directly affiliated with connecting with people the world over. A certificated pilot, Bentley first spoke about the importance of utilizing business aircraft in his life and career to a packed audience at NBAA-BACE 2015 in Las Vegas, NV. He offered his unique and engaging perspective to VBACE attendees on ways to bring people together in difficult times. Bentley’s December 2 VBACE keynote also included a conversation with NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, followed by what the singer termed his “first concert since March.” The December 3 keynote session featured acclaimed writer Erin Meyer, who with Netflix Founder and CEO Reed Hastings co-authored The New York Times bestseller No Rules Rules, a candid overview of the entertainment provider’s unique organizational philosophy. The VBACE session content also included a focus on educating new entrants to the industry, seeking information about the use of business aircraft, as well as information on tax benefits of aircraft ownership and operation; explanations of membership, jet card and fractional ownership options; tips for chartering business aircraft and much more. At the same time, the session roster featured timely information on safe operations, reflecting corporate sustainability goals, emerging security concerns, ever-evolving tax policies and best practices regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Also new to VBACE were insightful Thought Leadership sessions from VBACE exhibitors and sponsors covering a range of forward-thinking topics, from technological innovations to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion across the business aviation industry. New types of networking opportunities were also plentiful, through direct person-to-person connection among attendees, and dedicated subject-matter lounges. NBAA Professional Members were able to access a dedicated Happy Hour to mingle with their peers while enjoying performances by comedian and pilot Dave Coulier; Grammy-winning performer and Eye of the Tiger songwriter Jim Peterik; and Jefferson Starship lead singer Cathy Richardson. VBACE, a groundbreaking event, was free for NBAA members to attend. As part of their show experience, attendees were also able to fill bottomless ‘virtual backpacks’ with information from exhibitors and other materials. Although VBACE has since concluded, playback access to the show is available through December 31, providing ample time to continue to experience the booths and education sessions from your home or office. NBAA: your connection for success in 2021 Of course, NBAA’s work to help people strategize, and plan to compete for success in 2021 won’t conclude with VBACE. The association also plans two new, early 2021 events to help industry professionals strategize to meet the challenges of the COVID moment and beyond. First up in 2021 will be NBAA’s new Flight Operations Conference, scheduled for February 23-25. The event – being held on the same technologically advanced platform as VBACE – will gather schedulers, dispatchers, pilots and others focused on mission planning, including for international operations. Shortly thereafter, the association’s new Leadership Summit, taking place March 24-25, will bring together current and emerging business aviation innovators. These new, virtual NBAA GO events will allow attendees, presenters, sponsors and exhibitors to network strategically through direct person-to-person meeting rooms, virtual 3D exhibit booths and dedicated subject-matter lounges. These events incorporate enhanced networking and engagement opportunities in the conference program, including attendee guidance from industry leaders, bonus content offers, resources from speakers, peer-to-peer learning opportunities – including those focused on diversity, equity and inclusion – and more. Just as VBACE propels our annual convention into the digital space, offering new and exciting opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike, the new NBAA Flight Operations Conference and NBAA Leadership Summit will provide our industry with valuable content and, perhaps most importantly, the connections we value and cherish through difficult times. When you put it all together, these landmark events represent not just digital gatherings, but moments to attain what has been most difficult in this moment: connection. That ability to connect is how we build and sustain relationships. It’s how we better ourselves as professionals. It’s how we get business done. It’s how we plan for the future, as individuals, and as an industry. We look forward to charting that course with you in the months ahead, and beyond. View content from NBAAVBACE 2020 by visiting nbaa.org/vbace/register Learn more about the NBAA GO Flight Operations Conference and the NBAA GO Leadership Summit.
The ability to connect is how we build and sustain relationships. It’s how we better ourselves as professionals. It’s how we get business done. It’s how we plan for the future, as individuals, and as an industry