While the National Business Aviation Association promotes business aviation at the national and federal level, it is up to regional aviation groups to play this role at the state and local level.
Since the business aviation industry, federally and locally, seems to constantly be targeted as an area of government focus, it is important that smaller state organizations exist to establish and maintain a positive presence amongst state and local governments.
Composed mainly of volunteers having an interest in the general well-being of the industry in their region, in order to successfully represent and serve the needs of local aviation businesses and communities, members must be willing to put forth the time and effort needed to foster an environment that business aviation can thrive in.
It is not only important to be proactive lobbyers in years when potentially negative legislation is being proposed, but to also remain relevant and continue to educate policy and decision makers in years when immediate threats are not being posed. Using the Connecticut Business Aviation Group as an example, it is amazing to see the power and influence an organization can have when their members band together to communicate their goals and objectives to legislators. In recent years, the CT Business Aviation Group has played a critical role in the growth and success of the Connecticut business aviation industry. We have been instrumental in warding off an onerous property tax bill, fought for and obtained a tax exemption on aircraft parts and maintenance, successfully argued for a runway safety area at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, and convinced legislators of the need for a general aviation caucus.
The regional organizations do not have to act alone. The NBAA places a large focus on supporting regional aviation groups, with regional representatives around the country responsible for promoting general aviation in their given territories. These representatives are easily accessible and always a vital resource ready and willing to support.
Regional aviation associations must also serve as forums for the different members of the business aviation community to exchange ideas and share knowledge. Group gatherings and events serve as great ways to further the mission of the organization, learn from industry leading thought leaders, and network with their colleagues from the region.
As Chair of the CT Business Aviation Group, I look forward to connecting with other state aviation groups and learning of similar success stories at the Regional Aviation Group Forum at the annual NBAA convention this year.