As we move into the New Year, there’s time for a final look back at the old to reflect on what was accomplished during a whirlwind year in Business Aviation. Dave Higdon selects three of his highlights…
2018: A Real, Multiyear FAA Reauthorization - It remains difficult to conceive. In a year with some of the most contentious actions by one of the most divided Congress' ever, lawmakers passed and sent to the White House the most sweeping FAA reauthorization in decades.
And here in the midst of a partial shut-down of the Federal Government, the FAA's jobs stand apart, largely unaffected by the current budgetary chaos thanks, in part, to the passage of the FAA bill on October 3.
Congress authorized the FAA for five years, 2019 thru 2023, and authorized $97bn for the period.
Among H.R. 302's non-budget items was language deeming the Registry in Oklahoma City an essential operation remains open and functioning during the partial government shutdown which started on December 21. Thanks to this language most aircraft registrations, renewals and other critical registry functions continue to operate.
Moreover, the bill ignores entreaties to privatize the FAA's air-traffic control service, keeping this essential government function a part of the government.
2018: Business Aviation Forecasts - The 2018 NBAA-BACE brought multiple forecasts for the coming ten years. Forecasts from OEMs to analysts shared many characteristics including projections for a ten-year period beginning with solid business aircraft sale growth for the next four to five years, an ebb in the middle, and growth returning strongly for the final years.
The similarity and trends in those forecasts contributed to an upbeat mood at the show, a mood that continued unabated until the ongoing partial government shut-down and a stock market plunge in the days before Christmas. The continuing chaos in Congress and the White House leaves many observers unsure of what to expect next.
2018: Business Aviation to the Rescue (Again!) - Between Mother Nature's storms, floods and wildfires, business aircraft operators once again shone in their philanthropic efforts to rescue the trapped, evacuate the stranded, deliver food and other supplies to the affected, and help search-and-rescue officials locate those in need.
Private aviation (BizAv included) also transported thousands of medical patients to urgently needed care. And dog, cats, sea turtles and other animals traveled to new homes thanks to the generosity of Business and General Aviation operators who volunteered their airplanes, time and fuel.
Between the two different service types, the Business Aviation community truly demonstrated why private aircraft will always be able to serve in situations where air carriers lack the same reach and flexibility.
And the contributors ranged from operators with the largest business jets in the fleet right down to the operators of piston and turboprop singles.
In 2018 Business and General Aviation again proved the value of individuals and corporations providing their aircraft, free of charge, to benefit society at large. All of us in Business Aviation should be duly proud of those efforts, most of which happened out of sight and mind, and without making the news.
Humility in the act of such philanthropy makes each one of these acts a true mitzvah. Here's hoping that the need is far less in 2019. And if not, that Business Aviation will again be there. Happy New Year!