NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen accepts that his industry is never going to win over its harshest critics. But he believes that the sector can at very least prove that it means what it says when it talks about sustainability and environmental responsibility.

“There are certainly those that would say the best way to never have an aviation accident is to never have aviation, or never have an aviation security breach by never having aviation, or to have aviation sustainability by never having aviation,” he says. “We don’t buy into the ‘nevers’ because we think aviation is good, and we think its benefits, which we see over and over again – whether it’s responding to natural disasters or flying vital organs or bringing communities into the global marketplace – are positive. And our responsibility is to promote the benefits of aviation in ways that underscore our deep belief and value in things like sustainability, security, safety and so forth.”

How the industry responds to the growing clamor around carbon emissions and flight shaming will be critical for its future, he argues. Industrial entities will be judged on whether their actions live up to their words.

“I think it’s important for individuals, for companies, for industries, to make sure they’re defining themselves and that they are underscoring things like their values, their beliefs, their work,” he says. “For those of us in business aviation, the data – the reality, the truth – is that a lot of good stuff is on our side.

“That’s what has helped make No Plane No Gain a successful campaign,” he says, referring to the campaign launched by NBAA and GAMA in 2009 to highlight the benefits business aviation brings. “We’ve been able to demonstrate the jobs, the economic development, the competitiveness of companies, the humanitarian efforts.

“Business aviation enhances efficiency and productivity,” he adds. “It generates jobs and economic development. It allows people to do more in less time, to go places they couldn’t go. It’s an industry that we are all enormously proud to be part of because it’s a good industry, it’s an essential industry, and it’s an incredible community. That’s the reality.

More than anything else, No Plane No Gain is about getting out the truth about what business aviation is and what it means. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll show the data, we’ll tell the stories. We’ll put names and faces together. We’ll show the mayors and the congresspeople and the city councils and others, get clear about this industry and recognize how essential it is to the economic future of so many towns and communities and cities and companies all across our country.”