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blank 11/17/09 03:43PM Aircraft Charter, Events, FBO Operators, NATA, NBAA, Part 135

NATA and NBAA Explore a New Approach for FBO's
Reprinted from Airport Business

NBAA        National Air Transportation Association

In a co-conference debut in San Antonio in early 2010. Last month, the National Air Transportation Association and the National Business Aviation Association announced plans to coordinate NATA’s FBO Leadership Conference, now scheduled for January 25-26, with NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference on January 26-29. Announced during the NBAA annual convention in Orlando, the move is an interesting one in that it attempts to build on the popularity of ‘Schedulers’ among fixed base operators, who are often exhibitors. Many FBOs see the event as a key marketing venue to reach business aviation customers.

NATA represents airport-based businesses such as FBOs and Part 135 charter firms. At one time, NATA hosted an annual convention and trade show for all its membership. It subsequently sold the trade show portion to Cygnus Business Media (parent of AIRPORT BUSINESS) and the event has evolved into the Aviation Industry Expo, slated for March in Las Vegas. Expo has become a major training venue, with NATA playing a central role.

Several years ago, following a dramatic rise in air charter activity, NATA decided to pull out its Part 135s from the spring conference and host a new Air Charter Summit in June. At the same time, it reformulated the spring meeting into the FBO Leadership Conference. In 2009, the association combined the FBO conference with the Air Charter Summit, with what could best be termed questionable success. Thus the move to try a new approach.

Quotes from the joint press release …
NBAA president/CEO Ed Bolen: “In this turbulent economic climate, this plan will allow us to provide our associations’ members the networking, marketing, and educational opportunities they have come to expect, in one place, at one time.”  
NATA president Jim Coyne: “NATA members know that the association has been pursuing alliances like this one, and we will continue to do so to fulfill our mission to help ensure the long-term economic success of our members.”

Following the announcement in Orlando, a number of FBOs with whom I spoke welcomed the change and expressed optimism that a combined conference could get some traction. At the least, they say, it’s worth a try.

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