As we enter 2010, we are provided a clean slate of sorts to demonstrate the importance of general and business aviation to the public, the media, and the government. The idea of advocating this industry's major role in our national economy and to the public at large is certainly nothing new. But as our national air transport system evolves from antiquated hub-and-spoke commercial air service to a point-to-point service, general and business aviation continues to enhance its footprint in the skies. Customers want to get from point A to point C without having to go through point B. They want to get to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. Customers do not want to have to deal with the continuing security checkpoint and volume delays at many major commercial airports.
Enter our opportunity. Over the next ten years, business aviation will play an ever-larger role in moving the Traveling public within our own borders and through the world. Whether it is a Part 135, 91k, or 91 operation, this type of aviation provides a more efficient means to travel with infinitely better customer service and a stellar safety record. Businesses large and small that have used business aviation know the true benefits in time savings and increased work productivity. And while in 2009 some in the media and on Capitol Hill tried to paint a black mark on businesses using business aviation aircraft, 2010 is the time to speak even more loudly and clearly that business aviation is here to stay, for now and the future.
As in years past, the association invites all members of the general aviation industry to participate in NATA's Day on the Hill. This well-attended grassroots event provides our community with the opportunity to educate congressional officials on just how important our industry is to the public and the economy (as if they did not know!). This is an opportunity for the business aviation community to come together to voice our concerns and tell those on Capitol Hill how general aviation is the backbone of the whole aviation industry, concluding small businesses from Washington, DC, to Washington state. This is also the time to meet with Local Newspapers and media outlets to highlight the economic value of business aviation. We must stop fearing the press and start educating them about how important the industry, and the small businesses that play such a large role in general aviation, are to the American economy and to the thousands of small towns across this country that is on small airports for access to the national and global air transport system. Invite Local members of the media to your business at a Local airport to give them a hands on look at the folks you employ and the value business aviation provides to the Local economy. If we do not all start making a greater push to educate the media, we will continue to fight an uphill battle both on and off Capitol Hill.
Finally, become active in your Local Chamber of Commerce. The sole purpose of these groups is to promote the value of small businesses and defend their interests. While we certainly want all of our members to continue playing an active role in NATA advocacy efforts, joining a Local Chamber of Commerce is an outstanding complementary activity that will bolster the importance of your business to the community.
We have heard the old Tip O'Neill adage many, many times over the years because it is so very true. All politics are Local, so get a leg up by becoming active in your!