From my perspective, this year’s NBAA Annual Convention was a huge success. After the last few years of uncertainty and truthfully, some depression about the state of the global economy and our industry, people were enthusiastic and excited to be in Las Vegas and ready to get business done. Pre-registration numbers exceeded the total registration for all of last year and registration by internationally based business aviation businesses and participants hit a record high. The convention center halls seemed packed and bustling with activity and the static display appeared to have real buyers ready to talk about buying aircraft.
Our company had a GIV-SP, GV and a Challenger 604 available during the show for private showings at the McCarran Airport and we had several good showings. We had scheduled meetings with several principles who attended the convention to talk about different sales and acquisition projects including some clients who came to the show from China. My father and Jeff Lee, Aviation Director for American Express, hosted the Opportunities for Business Aviation in China/Asia panel discussion for the third year in a row. The first year they had a 100 person room. The second a 200 person room. And, this year, they packed the house in a 300 person room for what was definitely one of the hottest and most discussed topics of the convention, the growth of business aviation in Asia.
I’ve been attending NBAA conventions for almost 15 years starting when I was in college thinking of entering our family business. Every year I am reminded of the magnitude of our industry. Business aviation is an important part of our U.S. economy providing more than 1,000,000 jobs and one of our most valuable exports, corporate aircraft. It also supports our ever growing globally connected businesses and allows people and companies to do more than would ever be possible by using commercial airlines alone. Many of the companies in our industry are small businesses providing individual components or services that collectively help us build these complex aircraft and support their operations. Additionally, as was evident throughout the week starting with the opening general session and continuing through the NBAA Gala and Corporate Angel Network fundraiser on Tuesday night, the use of business aviation aircraft helps support philanthropic needs and saves lives. I am proud to be part of such an amazing industry and I look forward to a long bright future for our company and our industry.