ORLANDO, Florida — The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 2014 Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2014) was deemed an “enormous success, filled with announcements and product introductions,” according to NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
“The exhibit floor and aircraft displays had lots of activity and excitement,” he continued. “The event once again showcased the industry’s size, diversity and significance. Perhaps most important, the show provided many reminders that ours is an industry characterized by passion and professionalism.”
NBAA2014, which took place Oct. 21-23, featured about 1,100 exhibitors in the Orange County Convention Center. Additionally, more than 100 aircraft were displayed in several locations — at a sold-out static display at Orlando Executive Airport, at an indoor display inside the convention center, and at various exhibitor booths on the show floor.
More than 26,000 people attended the show, which included representatives from 49 states and 95 countries around the world, according to NBAA officials.
The show kicked off with an Opening General Session that featured leaders from both government and business, including Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Chris Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and Andrew Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings and a long-time business aviation champion who has participated in NBAA’s industry-advocacy initiatives.
A standing-room-only, second-day Opening Session also featured aviation leaders and legends. The session included a welcome from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), a general aviation supporter and senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He was joined by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who announced the launch of the Delaware Business Aviation Association, and U.S. Air Force Major Gen. (ret.) Edward Bolton, assistant administrator for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) at the FAA, who discussed the newly unveiled NextGen implementation roadmap.
Also at this session, NBAA presented the association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to aviation icon Bob Hoover, and then heard election predictions from famed political couple Mary Matalin and James Carville.
A new advocacy initiative also was unveiled at the show. Called “Business Leaders on Business Aviation,” the initiative highlights testimonials from dozens of CEOs on the value of business aviation to their companies, and builds on similar testimonials from 10 CEOs, introduced at NBAA2013, called the “Top Ten.” This year’s CEOs were featured prominently in signage displayed throughout the event’s exhibit halls, meeting areas and static aircraft displays, as well as in advertisements appearing in daily show publications.
A full roster of education sessions was held throughout the week, including two packed sessions on the emergence of Remotely Piloted Vehicles (and NBAA’s work to represent business aviation on this issue), as well as a session on considerations for the industry regarding international travel and the Ebola virus.
A young professionals networking event, on Oct. 21, and a Careers in Business Aviation Day, on Oct. 23, were held during the show, as a means to help bring the next generation of leaders into the industry.
A successful charitable benefit event, co-hosted by NBAA and Corporate Angel Network, raised nearly $400,000 in support of CAN’s mission to provide life-saving flights to take cancer patients to treatment centers aboard business aircraft.
“Clearly, in a host of ways, NBAA’s 2014 convention is one for the record books,” Bolen said. “We are thrilled by the enthusiasm that marked each of the show’s three days, and we are already making plans for next year’s convention in Las Vegas, Nev., from Nov. 17 to 19, 2015.”