Advocacy groups donate to save SMO

Two of GA’s top advocacy groups, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) have contributed more than $540,000 to support a ballot measure in Santa Monica, Calif.,, that would halt efforts to shut down the city’s airport (SMO). According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the campaign measure has raised about $824,000 as of Oct. 22, mostly from aviation-related interests, aircraft owners, businesses and pilots, including actor Harrison Ford, who stores his aircraft at the airport and donated $25,887.

Congress shows support for federal contract towers

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate recently sent letters to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta reiterating congressional support for the preservation of 252 federal contract towers.

Fifty-five senators signed a July 31 letter imploring Huerta to consider “all perspectives” in what appears to be an effort to streamline tower operations as the agency continues to deal with budget pressures, according to a report on the National Business Aviation Association website.

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Business flying ticks up

Ed Bolen

Ed Bolen

Speaking at the opening session of the European business aviation conference in Geneva, held May 19-21, Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, said he is pleased all indicators are up for business flying.

Announcements of new products from Gulfstream and Dassault, Bolen said, are welcome signs of confidence of the underlying strength of the bizav industry.

Fabio Gamba, CEO of the European Business Aviation Association, echoed Bolen’s comments, stating that he believes the worst years of the global economic downturn are over. He predicted 2014 is going to be a “positive and exciting” year.