NATA On The Go

October 12, 2019

The Executive Team has been traveling to discuss a variety of topics germane to the future of our industry such as illegal charter, Urban Air Mobility (UAM), workforce development, NFPA 409, Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). We’ve covered a lot of ground on each of these issues and initiatives and I am pleased to update you on the Association’s activities.

A series of SAF-centered learning opportunities at BACE this year represents the latest in our industry coalition’s efforts to educate the public and demonstrate our commitment to emissions reduction. Air BP, our member profile company in this issue, is one of our coalition partners in this important initiative. You will learn more about their sustainability efforts, including SAF, Lightsource BP, and BP Target Neutral, starting on page 28. Victor, another sustainability-minded NATA member, also spoke with the Aviation Business Journal (page 41) to provide more details on their market-leading environmentalism in providing on-demand jet charter.

In the past few months, NATA has worked to expand and improve the resources available to our members to protect their businesses from the risks of jet fuel contamination with Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). I am very proud of the work the Association is doing to keep our members safe, including updated DEF contamination prevention training, awareness campaigns, operational best practices, and “DEF Only” decals that were created in collaboration with our Airport Business Committee and designed to follow the recommendations set forth by the National Transportation Safety Board. We recently mailed these free “DEF ONLY, NOT FOR AVIATION USE” decals to our member locations. If you haven’t received the decals, contact us at (800) 808-6282. We have a limited supply that we will continue to distribute nationwide.

Other issues of great interest to NATA members throughout the country are illegal charter; NFPA 409—a standard that requires most modern GA hangars to have automatic foam fire suppression systems installed; and revenue intended for airport use being diverted elsewhere despite a federal law requiring those revenues be remitted to the airport for operational expenses and capital improvement. NATA has heard repeatedly from our members on these issues and we acted swiftly to quantify the associated challenges and risks, develop resources, and assist our members in communicating their concerns. Take a look at our advocacy on these issues in Tim Obitts’ column on page 5 and Jonathon Freye’s column on page 7.

As the industry is changing and adapting to new technologies and methodologies, NATA has formed new committees to address the opportunities and challenges presented by the UAM market and workforce development, as well as an Air Charter Broker Committee that is dedicated to upholding the integrity of the air charter broker community, establishing standards, developing and implementing industry best practices, and providing value to business aviation users. We encourage our members to remain engaged and assist in shaping the future of our advocacy and support of these initiatives through committee participation.

Further, in the area of workforce development, NATA was pleased to offer an opportunity for our members to sponsor a student to attend our June Aviation Business Conference. One student attended through the generosity of the Naples Airport authority and another through NATA. You can read about the experiences of these students on page 20 and also more about the conference on page 12.

You won’t want to miss NATA’s second major event of 2019—the Aviation Leadership Conference (ALC). Planned for November 5 and 6 in a new location at the MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C., the ALC provides opportunities for executives to network and interact in meaningful discussions on enhancing operations and addressing many of the aviation business issues you will find in the pages of this edition of the Aviation Business Journal.

We look forward to visiting with you and hearing firsthand how NATA can continue to provide the proactive advocacy and industry-leading service that has been our hallmark for the past 80 years. There are many important issues in each aviation service business area. Please let me know if you think we are on the mark with what we are addressing, or if your needs are in a different direction.

Thank you for your membership with NATA!

Fueling the Future

April 10, 2019

The business aviation community made history in January during the Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability event held at the Van Nuys Airport. A coalition of top general aviation associations, OEMs, FBOs, airport stakeholders, fuel companies and suppliers, and hundreds of engaged industry and community members assembled to participate in this ground-breaking event that established the Van Nuys Airport as the first general aviation airport in the U.S. to offer sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) on a trial basis. Additionally, Bombardier Business Jets, Gulfstream Aerospace, and Embraer participated in trial flights powered by SAJF to demonstrate the safety and viability of the fuel. I was pleased to take part in this event and very proud of NATA COO Tim Obitts and our staff for leading the charge on this important step forward in the initiative. Several key messages were central to the January 17th activities:

1. SAJF is safe and do not impact aircraft performance.
2. SAJF offers great impact and benefits to the airport and the community, including reduced particulate matter.
3. SAJF reflects the commitment by business aviation to aircraft carbon reduction.

As I expressed that day, “the aircraft won’t know the difference, but the environment will.” Photos and highlights from the event are available in NATA Director of Events Karissa Uko’s environmental spotlight article on page 11. More information on this initiative and other advancements by Bombardier Business Jets and Gulfstream Aerospace can be found in the member profile on page 23.

Visit for archived Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward  Sustainability media assets and intel on future editions of SAJF events and other  initiative advancements. Sustainable alternative jet fuel will also be among the many topics of conversation at NATA’s Annual Meeting and Aviation Business Conference this June 17-19. A full agenda is available at, be sure to make your hotel reservations and register today. We are looking forward to seeing you in D.C. for the most comprehensive conference and policy event in the aviation business community. You will have the opportunity to catch up with NATA staff and meet our newest team members: Jonathon Freye, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, and Morgan Johnson, Education and Training Coordinator. Morgan is a recent graduate of Frostburg State University and will provide customer service to Safety 1st participants and assist in supporting our training workshops. Prior to joining NATA, Jonathon served as Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03), a member of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure’s aviation subcommittee. He will lead the Association’s efforts on Capitol Hill, as well as our strategic communications initiatives. Read his inaugural ABJ column titled, “Shutdown, Showdowns, and the Road Ahead” on page 9.

Another first for the ABJ is the inclusion of the complete data on the Top 500 airports ranked by 2018 activity and aircraft type, see page 55. Mark Chambers, Managing Partner of the Aviation Resource Group International, has provided his analysis of FBO market demand in past issues, but this time the data is available right on the pages of the
ABJ for quick and handy reference.
Finally, in observance of Women’s History Month and the hard work and dedication of the women on NATA’s staff who provide industry intelligence, member services, and association operation support, we will feature their profiles in the Summer issue. We salute all the women, past and present, who make aviation take flight and inspire the future.

Answering the Call

October 4, 2018

(Originally published in the Q3 Aviation Business Journal)

Many of you know me from my years of experience working for business aviation service companies such as Jet Aviation and Gulfstream, and also from my service on NATA’s Board of Directors, including a term as Chairman from 2014-2015. I am honored and thrilled to continue my service to this outstanding aviation business industry as your 9th President.

My new tenure at NATA follows three highly successful years under the leadership of my colleague Marty Hiller. Marty’s vast experience as an esteemed business leader and association board member made him a natural fit to serve in this important role. We all owe him thanks for answering the call and for a job well done. I vow to build upon his excellent work and to continue listening to the needs of our members as times change and opportunities unfold in this dynamic industry.

You’ll hear once more from Marty in his introduction to a very touching and informational article on page 15 in which we asked several of our members to share their experiences and lessons learned following last year’s natural disasters. I could not be prouder of our members as I read the stories of how they faced such devastation with only thoughts about the welfare of others and how they can give back. Our article represents just a few of our brave and benevolent members. There are so many others out there. If you haven’t already, get to know them and find out how you too can be of service.

Significant threats to aviation businesses are not limited to natural disasters; the industry is also answering the call through the support of ongoing efforts to oppose illegal charter. NATA, along with its Air Charter Committee, launched an initiative to combat this growing concern among members and industry. NATA’s initiative to prevent illegal charter is overseen by a sub-committee of its Air Charter Committee called the NATA Illegal Charter Task Force. The Task Force seeks to work with the FAA, IRS, Congress and others to educate the industry and the public on the risks and consequences of illegal charter and help put a stop to this very real danger.

As a part of these educational efforts, NATA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs John McGraw published an article titled “Fifteen Shades of Grey Aircraft Charter: Protect Yourself by Avoiding Illegal Aircraft Charter.” The article originally appeared in the Business Aviation Advisor (BAA) Special Report, August 2018, and can be found on page 46 of this issue through the permission of our friends at BAA. For those businesses that have been forced to compete with operators engaged in illegal charter, Alison L. Squiccimarro, an attorney with the Law Offices of Paul A. Lange, LLC, outlines options in “Has Your Charter Company Been Damaged by a Competitor Cutting Corners?” on page 29. Learn more about the Task Force, locate additional resources and find out how you and your customers can help NATA stamp out illegal charter at

Another issue affecting the air charter community is the topic of NATA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Rebecca Mulholland’s column on page 9—permissible ride-sharing. Rebecca’s column outlines efforts, fueled by advocates of flight-sharing apps, to alter the charter industry with legislation seeking to allow private pilots to establish public transportation services. I look forward to working with NATA’s EVP Tim Obitts, the Government Affairs team, committees and others to address issues such as these that threaten safety and place the future of our vital industry sectors into question.

It is my goal to grow our membership through new segments; advocate for long-term, positive reform for the FAA; work with the Safety 1st team to expand the association’s safety programs for the benefit of all aviation businesses; and continue collaborating with other associations and groups on initiatives to inspire future generations of aviation professionals and enthusiasts.

I am grateful for my new role in giving back to a community that has given so much to me. I look forward to working with you as NATA’s President and urge you to get to know each one of NATA’s dedicated staff members. I am energized by all that has been achieved and what’s to come as  we answer the call together.