WICHITA — Business aviation faces a host of challenges, but the one that worries Ed Bolen the most is the negative image surrounding business aviation, the National Business Aviation Association CEO said over coffee before speaking at today’s Wichita Aero Club luncheon.
“Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that business aviation has been under attack,” Bolen said at the luncheon.
The airlines want to shift funding of the nation’s airports and the air traffic control system from passenger taxes and fuel taxes to a system of user fees. The airlines portray the general aviation industry as frivolous, Bolen said.
When a misperception persists about the importance of business aviation, it’s difficult to successfully work on other issues the industry faces, Bolen said.
“We’ve got to make sure our lawmakers and policymakers think business aviation is essential,” he said. “We’ve got to get the image right in order to succeed in everything else.”
Other key issues facing business aviation are user fees, a large aircraft security program and environmental laws and regulations, he said.
Improving the public’s image is a focus of NBAA and other industry trade groups. Business aviation is vital to the nation’s economy and its transportation system and economy, he said.
Business aviation means jobs, serves small communities that have little or no commercial airline service, improves productivity for companies that use them and is important in humanitarian efforts, Bolen said.