The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) promotes the aviation interests of organizations utilizing general aviation aircraft for business purposes in the US and worldwide. In this specially written article NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen looks at how its own development mirrors that of BGR over the past 50 years.
The NBAA congratulates Bangor International Airport (BGR) on 50 years of providing invaluable service to travelers throughout the country and across continents, and for serving as an important facility for the entrepreneurs and companies that rely upon the flexibility, productivity and efficiency of business aviation in today’s global marketplace.
Just as BGR has witnessed a host of changes over the past five decades, so too has business aviation evolved over this time. In fact, when you think about business aviation, one thing is clear: evolution and innovation have always been hallmarks for our industry. That’s been the case from Leonardo da Vinci, to the Wright Brothers, to today.
Over the past 50 years, business aviation has led the way toward safer and more efficient flight operations. From such technological advancements as glass-panel flight deck displays, terrain awareness and traffic advisory systems; fuel efficient high-bypass turbofan engines; and innovative materials, including composite aircraft structures, our industry has been at the forefront of advancements benefitting all of general aviation, worldwide.
Business aviation was just beginning its evolution into a global force for more efficient air travel back in 1968, when the Bangor City Council purchased the former Dow Air Force Base for redevelopment into Bangor International Airport. The first generation of business jets had been traversing the skies for less than 10 years, and thousands of small companies had not yet realized the benefits of business aircraft to connect with clients and communities faster and more efficiently.
Over the time since, NBAA has also evolved, from a national advocacy group to one with an international focus as well. Throughout the past 71 years, NBAA has adhered to its purpose of representing and protecting the aviationinterests of its members; presenting a united front in all matters where action is needed to improve aircraft, equipment, and service; and furthering the cause of safety and efficiency in business aircraft operations.
Without question, ours is a vital industry both across the US and around the world. In spite of its importance, however, business aviation also faces continual challenges, as seen recently in the fight over privatization of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
NBAA has long been concerned about privatization of ATC, in part because today’s ATC system serves the public interest and is overseen by the public’s elected representatives in Congress. Without such oversight to ensure the nation’s airports and airspace are available to all stakeholders, the small and mid-size towns that rely on access to general aviation for everything from civil services, to emergency support, to business access and more, could have that access threatened.
NBAA was joined by hundreds of influential leaders throughout the country in combating this proposal, including BGR Airport Director Tony Caruso, the Maine Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and other state airports and aviation groups.
While we have reached a milestone on the ATC-privatization fight, we know there is more work to do, on a host ofpriorities. As we look towards the next 50 years for Bangor International and NBAA, we know the future looks bright on both fronts.