Panelists at a “business aviation issues” session, held today at the NBAA regional forum at Palm Beach (Fla.) International Airport, urged attendees to get involved in political issues affecting the industry, as well as to be advocates for business aviation. “We shouldn’t be ashamed to say that business aviation is important,” noted Florida Crystals flight department head Matt Collins. “It’s just as important as highways.”
Jenny Showalter, the executive director for the Florida Aviation Business Association, and South Florida Business Aviation Association president Jeff Ramsden discussed local and state issues, including a bill introduced in the Florida legislature that would eliminate sales tax on aircraft purchases and another push to get on-site Customs service at Boca Raton Airport. Both said they would like to see flight departments be more active in groups such as theirs, which help to effect change at the local and state level.
Meanwhile, Palm Beach County Airport Authority deputy director Jerry Allen told attendees that general aviation is important to the county. In fact, he noted that the authority bought 60 acres on the north side of the airport just for general aviation use. NetJets opened a passenger terminal on this land in 2013 and three FBOs are currently negotiating for space there, he said.
There are 120 indoor exhibitors and 21 business aircraft on display at today’s regional forum, which is being hosted at Atlantic Aviation’s facility.