Business aviation is recognized as a valued partner in New York’s Westchester County, contributing to jobs and economic growth, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen told the audience at NBAA’s Regional Forum held June 8 in White Plains, NY.
Speaking in front of a large crowd gathered for the forum at Panorama Flight Service on Westchester County Regional Airport (HPN), Bolen said: “Westchester County understands that this airport matters, that business aviation matters, that we create jobs, and that we’re important for the economy.”
Bolen also highlighted the vital role that business aviation plays in the lives of citizens, companies and communities across the U.S., noting job creation, economic development, and humanitarian assistance that includes reuniting combat veterans with their families.
The forum drew a record 1,918 registered attendees, featured 112 exhibitors and showcased 34 aircraft on static display.
Kevin J. Plunkett, Westchester’s deputy county executive, echoed Bolen’s remarks by discussing the critical role that business aviation plays in Westchester County and the region. Plunkett noted that HPN alone is home to 80 businesses and 1,300 direct jobs.
In addition, the county leader commended airport officials for doubling passenger traffic over the past five years and for benefiting Westchester and Fairfield counties with an estimated growth in direct and indirect employment valued at $600 million.
Bolen said that while NBAA does its part to help advance the goals of the business aviation industry in the New York area and elsewhere across the country, members also play an important role in communicating the value and importance of business aviation and its interests. Bolen said that when people are informed of the benefits of business aviation, the industry “has a shot.”
Bolen also discussed several challenges facing the industry, including recent efforts to alter the decade-old “do not track” program, known as the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program. The BARR provides privacy, security and competitiveness protections to companies and individuals who fly general aviation airplanes, Bolen emphasized. He said NBAA is working diligently to ensure that the BARR program remains unchanged.
On a beautiful and clear summer day, participants from all corners of the business aviation industry were on hand to hear discussions on industry-related topics, network and see the latest equipment and services for business owners and operators.
Information sessions featured speakers, including John Johnston, president of the Westchester Aviation Association (WAA), who spoke to the importance of organization’s responsibility of carrying out NBAA’s mission at the local level. Each year, the WAA – a key sponsor the event – brings more than 400 local business leaders to Westchester County Airport to illustrate its importance to the community.