While the National Business Aviation Association expected the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting and Convention in Orlando to match last year’s attendance totals, a presidential visit and Hurricane Sandy are making those totals more difficult to reach.
Hurricane Sandy loomed off the East Coast Saturday and was predicted to make landfall early next week – right when many attendees prepare to travel to the event.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University had scheduled a ceremony with Pratt & Whitney Canada on Oct. 29 at the Daytona Beach, Fla. campus, but postponed the event because travel conditions were too uncertain.
Also as a result of the hurricane, President Obama changed his travel plans for a campaign event in Orlando. Obama is now planning to arrive Oct. 28 for the Oct. 29 event.
FAA issued a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) requiring business aircraft operators to first be screened through a gateway airport if they plan to arrive at Orlando Executive Airport (ORL) between 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and 2:45 p.m. Oct 29. ORL is home to NBAA’s static display this year.
Similarly, business aircraft operations are prohibited at Orlando International Airport (MCO) from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Oct 29, unless they follow the gateway airport procedures. FAA designated Jacksonville International and Daytona Beach as gateway airports for the TFR.
Dan Hubbard, senior vice president of communications for the National Business Aviation Association, says the TFR should not affect static aircraft. Most are arriving either today (Oct. 27) or early on Oct. 28. The association expects 94 aircraft will be on static display at ORL and another 12 will be displayed outside the Orange County Convention Center. Even so, the TFR will hinder attendees who had planned to arrive early in their business aircraft, along with other general business aircraft operations, Hubbard notes.
NBAA says both Kissimmee (ISM) and Sanford (SFB) airports are expected to remain fully operational during the TFR.
"The timing of the president's trip is very unfortunate, but the reality is, he's coming to Orlando because it's the swing area of a critical swing state," says NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.