EBACE Opening Tackles Negative Perceptions of Business Aviation

Tackling the negative public perception of business aviation is key to resolving some of the industry’s challenges, said speakers at today’s EBACE opening general session. Although the sector is in better shape than it has been for a few years, officials said that public attitudes toward private airplanes are corrosive and affect decision making at the highest levels. “Recognition of our industry’s value is evident at the European level but not in the 27 member states,” noted European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) chairman Brian Humphries. He pointed to the UK’s proposals for an Air Passenger Duty tax of £186 ($300) per passenger for each private flight in an aircraft over 6,000 pounds or in a business helicopter. NBAA president Ed Bolen highlighted the new EU Emissions Trading Scheme as a particular concern. He urged the business aviation sector to stand up for itself, saying, “It is incumbent on our industry to be aggressive in talking about how we operate.” Britain’s Lord Hesketh cautioned that without business aviation economies would struggle. “Companies that do not have the ability to move key personnel are going to fall behind,” he said. “We do have to get the perception issue right.”

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