The National Business Aviation Association’s regional forum at the Miami Opa-Locka Airport on Feb. 2 celebrated business aviation with higher attendance than originally projected. The forum opens at a time the industry faces booming demand, strong order backlogs and low pre-owned inventory. Credit: Molly McMillin/Aviation Week Network
The NBAA regional forum drew more than 130 exhibitors and 15 aircraft on static display. Organizers had expected 1,500 to 1,800 attendees, but by showtime, more than 2,200 had registered. The forum was NBAA's first in-person event of 2022. Credit: Molly McMillin/Aviation Week Network
'A Remarkable Thing'
The better-than-expected attendance is a sign of exuberance in business aviation, says Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO. During the pandemic, “suddenly, people realized how important it was to safely and securely get where they need to be when you need to be there,” Bolen says. “As a result of that, we have seen kind of a remarkable thing happen in our industry. Today, we have a demand unlike anything we’ve really seen before.” A HondaJet attracts attention during the NBAA regional forum in Miami. Credit: Molly McMillin/Aviation Week Network
Flying Classroom Bombardier Academy Marks First Graduates
Barrington Irving, founder and CEO of Flying Classroom, honors the 30 graduates of the first three-week session of Flying Classroom Bombardier Academy. Bombardier offered some of the graduates jobs at its service centers and others internships or other opportunities. Credit: Molly McMillin/Aviation Week Network
'This Is Our Time'
The industry is not without its challenges. Supply chain and labor shortages are “front burner” issues facing every industry, including business aviation. “Where do we get the materials? Where do we get the people?” Bolen asks. “The future is about attracting young people to business aviation and the excitement of what the industry has to offer. When listening to what young people are looking for in their careers, technology counts”, Bolen says They care about technology and are looking for a community. Business aviation offers both. “We’re an industry that offers experiences and community and technology and professional development,” he says. At the same time, “all of us are part of something really big and important,” he says. "This is our time.”
Bombardier's New Miami Opa Locka Service Center
Work is underway on Bombardier's new service center at the Miami Opa Locka Executive Airport with plans to open in the third quarter of 2022. The facility will be Bombardier's largest service center under one roof. Some of the graduates of the Flying Classroom Bombardier Academy will work at the new center. Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week Network
More than 2,200 people registered to attend the National Business Aviation Association's regional forum on Feb. 2 at the Miami Opa Locka Executive Airport. The forum also drew more than 130 exhibitors and 15 aircraft on static display.
Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.