Alexandria, VA, February 9, 2011 - More than 100 FBO and airport professionals gathered at the National Air Transportation Association's (NATA) annual FBO Leadership Conference (FBOLC) in Savannah, Georgia. The successful two-day event began on Monday with a general aviation leadership lunch and ended Tuesday with a session to segue into the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference, February 9-11, at the Savannah Convention Center.
FBO Leadership Conference highlights included:
• In the opening session, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President and CEO Craig Fuller said that general aviation is in the "best of times and worst of times." In the positive column, collaboration among the general aviation associations and the General Aviation Caucus are playing tremendous roles in strengthening the industry. Among the negatives are continued challenges with the economy and budget, but Fuller, NATA President and CEO James K. Coyne and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Senior Vice President Steve Brown all agreed that they are seeing positive signs in the industry and are becoming more optimistic about the economy.
• Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) welcomed FBOLC attendees to Georgia and mentioned several general aviation positives in this region, including a $5 million expansion at Gulfstream and the creation of new jobs. Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) praised Coyne and NATA for keeping him and others informed on what general aviation does and for making positive changes in the relationship between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the private sector. Coyne encouraged attendees to enlist his help in organizing and leading local meetings with Members of Congress, county officials, customers and others to continue the crucial work of promoting the importance of general aviation and what it does.
• Transportation Security Administration (TSA) General Manager of General Aviation Security Brian Delauter announced that changes are coming for the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP). All operators who are currently approved as gateway airports to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport should contact their personal security specialist by March 1, 2012, for updated information. Delauter also encouraged those interested in participating in the DASSP to reach out to their local TSA office to learn more about the program. NATA Director of Safety and Training Amy Koranda emphasized that NATA's Safety 1st program is more than just its Professional Line Service Training (PLST) Online Program. Koranda explained that included within the NATA Safety 1st program are Flight Crew Briefings, Operational Best Practices, Safety Management Systems (SMS) for ground and air, workshops, and webinars as well as a new ground audit standard that will be introduced this spring. On the topic of SMS, Koranda said that an SMS is a business plan for safety, explaining, "It is critical for a business to be engaged in the development of an SMS program. A canned manual is not an ideal solution to encourage employee engagement, nor will it reflect your business." Coyne added, "NATA's Safety 1st SMS should be more than you need to be FAA compliant. NATA's Safety 1st SMS is ICAO compliant, and that is what the FAA is looking to as a model."
• NATA Director of Regulatory Affairs Michael France and AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman discussed the factors behind the Avgas issue and gave a status report on where the issue now stands. Hackman and France outlined the purpose of the formation of the Avgas Coalition that includes NATA, AOPA and NBAA along with other leading aviation organizations. The mission of the coalition is to collaborate, coordinate and provide leadership on the development and implementation of the process by which an unleaded avgas solution will be identified. Among the most important points to remember are that this is a multi-year process, no date has been set to ban 100LL gas, everything is being taken into consideration and we have to get this right because the outcome will affect future generations. Most importantly, since this issue will take a number of years to resolve, the industry must stay engaged.
NATA and NBAA plan to coordinate, in Savannah, Georgia, NATA's 2011 FBO Leadership Conference, Feb. 7-8, 2011, with NBAA's Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, Feb. 9-11, 2011.
NATA's 2011 FBO Leadership Conference takes place February 7-8, 2011, in Savannah, Georgia.
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