The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA), headed by its tireless and enthusiastic CEO Marc Bailey, has so impressed the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the UK Government’s Department for Trade (DfT), that it is now one of only three aviation trade bodies to meet with the CEOs of the CAA and DfT on four occasions per year.

This unprecedented access allows BBGA to focus on strategic issues with direct access to government ministers through these departments. “We were also afforded the opportunity to brief directly (UK) Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill on matters impacting our sector of business aviation (and we were) able to get support for unblocking red tape associated with visas for training Chinese business aviation pilots in the UK,” Bailey says.

Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the CAA, was happy to go on the record as saying, “I think the BBGA is doing an excellent job representing the interests of such a diverse range of organizations with different activities and business models. We at the CAA recognize the importance of enabling sustainable growth in the British business aviation sector for the aviation industry, its consumers and the wider economy. A strong business aviation sector encourages high net worth individuals and businesses to look to the UK as a home for their investments, promoting employment and economic growth.”

Says Bailey, “If there was only one area where we should park all competitive issues and work together, then securing jobs for the next generation in Aviation Services has to be our top priority.”

Aviation Services is the new title given to a sector that includes leisure flying, and business aviation through commercial general aviation up to the scheduled airlines. “So it’s about making an inclusive community rather than fighting for your own bit of space.” The new title replaces the old Aerospace heading which is now regarded as having too many OEM overtones.

“It’s vital for BBGA and other associations to work together as close as we can both in the UK and in Europe in order to get rapid resolution and support from Government and the European Commission on issues that are currently affecting us,” Bailey says.

The BBGA is also trying to reduce and rationalize the number of forums to just key representative organizations. “Because, whether it be UK Government Minister or the EU Commission, they love to speak to one organization,” said Bailey. By joining with other associations he instanced the power of solidarity.

“When you can say, ‘We represent 700 members and around 500 of them are SMEs,’ this gets their attention.” The improved organizational scheme has already made for access to the EU’s Transport Director General and EASA’s senior executives.


Ongoing BBGA Programs

• The Trailblazer Apprenticeship program was started two years ago by the UK Government as an attempt to get all industries to develop recognized apprenticeships to national occupational standard. One is under way and three more are in the works. “These apprenticeships can be used by the airlines and the likes of a Gama Aviation, TAG or Harrods Aviation,” says CEO Marc Bailey.

• The potential threat from the UK Border Force to charge FBOs around GBP350,000 on an annual contract encouraged the business aviation industry to develop a better solution. “The BBGA… managed to get a better outcome… without impacting competitive advantage,” Bailey says. “The BBGA is trying Border Force to focus on risk-based oversight of known clients who know their regular customers and can vouch for them.”

• On the Flight Operations front the BBGA team works through ECOGAS as the International Professional Pilots Training Group, and has established a regular forum with interested parties across industry. This group has been able to address many issues which, if left unchecked, would have caused significant problems for industry and regulators.

• On flight crew flight time limitations, the BBGA is using the EBAA’s scientific data to demonstrate to EASA that regulations should be different for business aircraft pilots.

• Another vital training area is controlling the skies in terms of NATS and airspace, Bailey says. “We need to make sure we understand the numbers year-on-year, then we can put a cogent case to government saying we might need 30,000 of these this year but only 15,000 next year.”