On the changing face of business aviation, and an idea ...
The NBAA convention featured in this issue is now the eighth largest trade show in the U.S. And it comes with an added bonus, a Static Display of business aircraft — a popular attraction with both attendees and vendors.
The static is also NBAA’s Achilles heel. It requires an airport in close proximity to a large convention center. Add the two and you get a limited list of cities that can host NBAA.
It took years for NBAA to take its show to Las Vegas, fearful of image. When it did, it was an immediate success, as many that visit Vegas are. But it may not go back to Vegas — word at this year’s show was it’s the airport director’s fault. On page 30, that director, Randy Walker, talks of what it will take to bring NBAA back to his city.
Here’s a scenario: By 2010, NBAA will be committed to alternate its annual meeting between Orlando and Las Vegas. It will have dedicated leaseholds at Orlando Executive and Henderson Airport south of downtown Vegas for the static display. A third possibility is New Orleans and Lakefront Airport.
In other words, what has been a virtual freebie for the association will become a point of doing business. Randy Walker at Las Vegas has already offered to make lease space available at market value; the word behind the scenes is that Orlando Executive has made a similar overture.
Bruce Van Allen, who heads up the BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support enterprise, comments, “Freebie might not be the right way to look at it. I do think we should be able to come up with an agreed upon price. I don’t think we ought to gouge the show.
“It’s kind of like when a studio wants to shoot a movie in one of our hangars. There’s a price for that.”
Walker, who oversees McCarran International as well as GA relievers, says his concern is interfering with the normal operations of his day-to-day customers —not only the airlines. It’s the same at Henderson, he points out. His general aviation customers pay the airport’s way, and they deserve the normal access they pay for.
Dan Hubbard, VP of communications for NBAA, offered the following when asked about NBAA leasing dedicated space for future Static Displays: “Without getting into the specifics of the various options we’ve explored, we continue to discuss possibilities with Mr. Walker and others.
“Is it reasonable to foresee that there is going to come a time when the association will need to have such arrangements in place if it is going to host the Static Display.”
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An idea related to the Static: Why not have a nationwide contest among FBOs and their line staffs? Winners get to work the Static Display and attend the NBAA convention, expenses paid. Maybe NATA’s successful Safety 1st program can have a special certificate for having worked the event. It can only help the FBOs when their line folks return — having worked the NBAA Static.
Thanks for reading.
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