For the first time since 1999, the National Business Aviators Association will hold its annual meeting and convention in Atlanta Sept. 25-27, bringing an estimated 30,000 visitors and $50 million of economic impact to the city, according to Dan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Washington-based association.
Hosted by the Georgia World Congress Center, the event will celebrate the association’s 60th anniversary and feature more than 1,000 exhibitors marketing products and services from all sectors of the business aviation industry.
Mr. Hubbard said that Atlanta is one of few American cities that have the right mix of characteristics needed accommodate the convention’s unique needs.
The Georgia World Congress Center has the requisite million square feet of floor space, and the city has a “robust” hospitality industry necessary to withstand the influx of visitors, Mr. Hubbard said.
“We also need a nearby community airport because the aircraft on display are a main component of the convention,” he added. Fulton County Airport just west of Atlanta will handle this responsibility, providing display space for some 95 aircraft, Mr. Hubbard said.
Although it is a national convention, the event will draw businesses from all over the world that are either exhibiting products or considering those on display, he said.
The association often works with business aviation organizations in Europe and Asia to plan and implement events in other countries, but this annual event is the world’s premier business aviation convention, ranked as the No. 4 trade show by “Tradeshow Week 200” magazine, said Mr. Hubbard.
To host the convention here makes sense, because the United States sets the bar for the world in general aviation, said Steve Champness, president of the Aeroclub of Atlanta, a chapter of the National Aeronautics Association.
“America accounts for 70 percent of all general aviation worldwide, and what happens in America is critical to determining what the world standard is for innovation and manufacturing,” said Mr. Champness, who helps with marketing for the National Business Aviation Association.
Business aviation is a segment of general aviation, a growing industry that encompasses all aviation outside of commercial and military flights, Mr. Hubbard said.
As the marketplace has grown increasingly global, business leaders have begun to see the benefits of taking charge of their own air transportation. Smaller private flights lead to a more flexible schedule and increased productivity because employees can hold meetings while en route to their destinations, Mr. Hubbard said.
He also noted that there are only 500 major airports for commercial airlines throughout the country, while there are about 5300 devoted to general aviation.
Mr. Hubbard said people think big corporations account for most business aviation, but statistics released by the association said that 85 percent of U.S. companies involved in general aviation, of which business aviation is a part, are small- and medium-sized enterprises all over the country.
The convention will demonstrate the wide range of companies and industries affected by the general aviation industry, which contributes $150 billion to the United States economy every year. Catering, interior design, insurance, maintenance companies and others will all show up at the convention, hoping to see some of industry’s benefits trickle down to them, Mr. Hubbard said.
Both Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Champness said that business aviation is used as a supplement to commercial aviation, and that the two industries, while very different, are interrelated.
The convention is held every year in a rotation of cities that includes Atlanta, Las Vegas, New Orleans, La. and Orlando, Fla.
This year, the state of Georgia is celebrating 100 years of aviation, and Mr. Hubbard said the centennial would be recognized at the event.
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2007 NBAA Convention Information
NBAA – Steve Champness, marketing (800) 878-7555