On Feb. 13, 1947, a group of visionary business leaders and pilots united to encourage safety and professionalism throughout their nascent industry, and to protect access to airports and airspace. This initial meeting of aviation professionals resulted in the organization that ultimately became the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Even 70 years ago, possible airline domination of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system was a significant concern throughout the industry. In the 1950s, when the FAA was recasting the ATC system to deal with growing air traffic and the introduction of jets, NBAA was among the organizations that helped identify aviation’s future needs for services and facilities, especially for non-airline users.
During the 1970s, when business aviation faced the challenge of dealing with fuel shortages and the threat of onerous aircraft-noise regulations, NBAA helped prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from obtaining authority to regulate aircraft noise and convinced government officials that fuel allocations for non-commercial flying should not be drastically cut.
During the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, NBAA worked with government officials to help keep business aircraft moving safely and securely. And throughout its entire history, NBAA has fought operating restrictions, such as aircraft bans, airport curfews and discriminatory airport fees.
Of course, promoting and protecting the interests of business aviation remains a core mission of the association today, and NBAA has many initiatives designed to advance and safeguard the industry’s interests. Included among them is the No Plane No Gain campaign, an initiative jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which continues to promote the understanding and acceptance of business aviation.
Legislative and regulatory advocacy are also key aspects of this mission, and this takes several forms. Besides providing expert technical and policy testimony before regulatory agencies and Congress, NBAA is building industry support among federal lawmakers via the general aviation caucuses in the U.S. House and Senate. NBAA also has made it easy for individuals to provide input to federal legislators via the association’s online Contact Congress resource.
Similarly, NBAA advocates for the industry on the state and regional levels, as well as joining with its sister organizations worldwide to advocate for business aviation before global regulatory bodies.
Throughout its long history, NBAA has worked to support policies that foster business aviation, including modernization of the nation’s aviation system, building upon the already outstanding safety record for business aviation, and preserving secure access to airports and airspace. This mission will continue for the next 70 years, and beyond.