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Business jets key to economic welfare
November 5, 2010
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  • ByKelly Yamanouchi

    October19, 2010

    Assome 25,000 people in the business aviation industry will gather in Atlanta for their annual meetingtoday, a key forecast shows those who fly private jets see a long road torecovery from the recession.

    Aclosely watched report by Honeywell Aviation predicts that business jetdeliveries will continue to decline this year and remain weak in 2011, with noexpansion expected until 2012.

    Savannah-basedGulfstream Aerospace, a major business jet maker, said it also sees continuingeffects of the slow economy.

    “Weexpect to see dampened sales and deliveries throughout next year” formid-sized private jets, Gulfstream president Joe Lombardo said. Sales of largeraircraft are doing better, driven by growth internationally, according to thecompany.

    Organizersof the National Business Aviation Association annual meeting and convention atthe Georgia WorldCongress Centerand DeKalb Peachtree Airportthis week hope to counter negative images of business aviation in a strugglingeconomy. One example came when auto executives flew private jets to Washington to seekfinancial aid two years ago.

    “Itraised a question at the time of, ‘Why do people use business airplanes?'” said Ed Bolen, NBAA’s president and CEO. He argues that businessaviation offers value to companies and communities where they operate.

    “Ifyou look at Georgia, anumber of companies are able to operate in Atlanta because they are able to use theirgeneral aviation airplanes to reach multiple markets (around the region).”Bolen said. “They can go to multiple meetings in a single day, they cantake products aboard the airplane that may not fit in an overhead bin or be toofragile for a cargo hold.

    Hesaid many companies rely on both airline service and business aviation to moveemployees. “You have a strong situation in Atlanta with a lot of good commercial serviceand a lot of business aviation companies,” Bolen said.

    Atlanta is also a bigmarket for aviation insurance and financing, he said.

    Duringthe event, which runs through Thursday, nearly 100 airplanes will be exhibitedat DeKalb Peachtree Airport.Gov. Sonny Perdue is scheduled to speak today, with other speakers this weekincluding Federal Aviation Administration administrator Randy Babbitt andTransportation Security Administration administrator John Pistole.

    Date: 2010-10-19