Answering the Call

(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 www.nata.aero/avoidillegalcharter.

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.

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