NBAA 2015 will have the largest static display ever, with up to 27,000 visitors expected.
It is the 68th event since the Association’s founding in 1947 when just a handful of delegates, less than 50 back then, met in the basement of New York City’s Biltmore Hotel and a few vendors displayed their aviation wares on small tables.
Today, the Association’s gathering requires a convention hall with about 1,000,000 square feet of capacity, a city with over 40,000 room-nights of available hotel capacity, and a nearby airport for the 100 or more business aircraft that are typically presented on static display.
While Las Vegas is now a fairly regular venue for NBAA’s BACE, alternating with Orlando, Florida and occasionally one of the few other US locations with sufficient convention capacity to host the event, for many years the Association shied away from this mecca of entertainment for concern the location was not appropriate for a community as conservative as Business Aviation. When I arrived in Washington, DC in 1992 to be the Association’s president (a position I held for about a dozen years), my predecessor had previously broken precedent and committed to the Las Vegas site for NBAA’s 48th annual meeting and convention in 1995—due to the event’s size, convention facilities had to be secured about five years prior to the event date. As I assumed the duties at NBAA, I was concerned that the Membership would reject the selection of Las Vegas and stay away, but we had no choice but to proceed.
How wrong I was. Delegates and exhibitors flocked to our first annual meeting held in Las Vegas. When the final numbers were tallied, the attendance was 32,665 (if memory serves me correctly)—truly a record that I believe has not been surpassed. But truth be known, the actual count was one higher than our official count. For our first Las Vegas venue, I simply did not want to report a number ending in 666.
Catch up with Jack's key NBAA2015 Take Aways