Outgoing GAMA Chair Underscores Sustainability Goals

Nicolas Chabbert, Senior vice president of Daher Aircraft Division and CEO of Daher Aircraft and Kodiak Aircraft.
Credit: Brett Schauf/ShowNews

Nicolas Chabbert’s tenure as chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association was not an easy one, coinciding with a pandemic that forced the trade group to do much of its work remotely. “We had to be a TV presenter in front of an empty room,” he recalls.

But Chabbert, the senior vice president of Daher’s Aircraft Division and CEO of Daher Aircraft and Kodiak Aircraft, completed his term as GAMA chair early this month amid fresh optimism about general aviation’s future and an unprecedented focus on sustainability. “We have to, for the first time, be socially conscious,” he said at an Oct. 11 press conference in Las Vegas tied to the NBAA-EBACE show. “We cannot win the war all at once. We have to go step by step.”

Chabbert underscored GAMA’s goals for reducing carbon emissions, including carbon neutral growth beyond 2020, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and a 2% improvement in fuel burn each year between 2020 and 2030. He’s also pushing for full adoption of sustainable aviation fuel. The key to making all that successful, he says, is convincing general aviation pilots and operators that the industry cannot prosper if it stays on the sidelines of the sustainability movement.

France-based Daher, which produces the speedy TBM turboprop, acquired Quest Aircraft Co., the Idaho-based builder of the Kodiak 100, in October 2019. Chabbert says the purchase was just the first step in Daher’s ambitions to expand its footprint in the U.S. turboprop market. “Kodiak is just the beginning,” he says. “We’re going to continue to expand” in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Chabbert calls the introduction of the HomeSafe Emergency Autoland system on its TBM 940 a “game changer.” The Garmin system automatically brings an aircraft to a runway touchdown if a pilot becomes incapacitated. Seventy-five TBM 940s with HomeSafe have been delivered, and another 23 have been retrofitted with the system.

The company also is preparing to deliver the 300th Kodiak next month. “I believe we have never been in a better spot in GA than we are today,” Chabbert says.

Joe Anselmo

Joe Anselmo has been Editorial Director of the Aviation Week Network and Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Week & Space Technology since 2013. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs a team of more than two dozen aerospace journalists across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.