NAFA member Ed Bolen, President & CEO of National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), discusses how continued global advocacy supports industry growth.
Business aviation has always been a global industry that requires advocacy in all parts of the world. NBAA understands this mission and works continually, at regional and international levels, to support policies that foster the industry's growth and prosperity.
For example, NBAA has been working for over a decade to help international operators comply with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)'s Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) ramp check program. NBAA recently commented on proposed changes in SAFA inspections, making EASA aware of operators' concerns and explaining how business aircraft flying differs from airline operations.
Beyond our work in specific regional theaters, the association also advocates for the industry at the global level. Much of our work in this regard is undertaken in coordination with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), business aviation's official observer to the proceedings of the International Civial Aviation Organization (ICAO).
As of this writing, NBAA is helping IBAC prepare for the next major meeting of ICAO, which will deal with a variety of important topics that affect business aircraft operators, such as using data-driven risk assessment to enhance safety and facilitating worldwide adoption of innovative air-traffic management initiatives.
NBAA and IBAC also continue working to achieve reasonable compliance limits and procedures for ICAO's global aviation emissions plan, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reductions Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA.
We were pleased that ICAO heard and understood our position on the plan's introduction, that business aircraft emissions represent a tiny fraction of all aviation emissions, and that the segment should be given proportionate consideration under CORSIA. This understanding led ICAO to grant the vast majority of business aircraft operators a "small emitter" exemption from the policy, greeted with strong support from NBAA and IBAC. That said, the 2 organizations continue monitoring the voluntary compliance requirements in place for CORSIA, with an eye toward ensuring compliance is workable.
Of course, not all of the advocacy work done by NBAA relates to compliance with government mandates. Business aviation has a long record of support for industry-driven initiatives, and NBAA is active on a number of those as well. One of the most promising among these is the development and use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels (SAJF), derived from a broad variety of renewable sources and blended with petroleum jet fuel, resulting in a mixture indistinguishable from straight Jet-A.
Illustrating the industry's long-standing commitment to reducing its already small emissions footprint, several business aviation stakeholders in May will recognize the 10th anniversary of the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change, which identified SAJF among other initiatives for further reducing overall emissions in business aviation.
Over the past year, as part of that commitment, a coalition of international business aviation organizations released the Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels, which outlines the pathway toward the adoption and use of SAJF and sponsored a demonstration day in the US to prove these fuels' viability and safety.
In fact, the promotion and use of SAJF will be in focus as never before at the 2019 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) taking place May 21-23 in Geneva. The event will include the SAJF-focused technical panel discussion at the EBACE Innovation Zone on the show's opening day, while TAG London Farnborough Airport will host the 1st European SAJF demonstration day on May 18, building on the US event earlier this year at VNY (Van Nuys CA).
Clearly, as business aviation continues to grow around the world, NBAA will continue to reflect the industry's needs across multiple areas, engaging with government officials and industry stakeholders to protect and promote business aviation in an evolving global environment.
This article was originally published by Professional Pilot Magazine in May 2019, p. 12.