The mood was ebullient as big names from the business aviation world waxed lyrical at the media press lunch on Monday 23 May about the return of EBACE and the prospects for a buoyant industry.
The sector is “celebrating” its commitment to sustainability, said NBAA president Ed Bolen, and all panellists talked about their determination to further its inclusivity record and attract a younger generation of talent to the industry.
“We are going into the heyday of business aviation… the future is super-bright,” said Kenny Dichter, chief executive of Wheels Up, the New York-based firm that sells aircraft charters through membership programmes.
Keeping up with this growth surge is undoubtedly an issue across the value chain. Jet Aviation president David Paddock said business is at levels 20% above the same time in 2019. However, with 300-400 openings globally across Jet Aviation’s network of 52 locations, attracting people is its biggest challenge.
Bolen said bringing in new talent is an “imperative”, while Embraer Executive Jets president Michael Amalfitano said all players have to play their part to “create a new passion for folks to come back to the industry”.
Dichter said inclusion is his watchword. “This has traditionally been a white, male-dominated industry… we must make it more inclusive with more women, more people of colour and more people of all orientations, and welcome them,” he said.
EBACE will be a visible demonstration of an industry in transformation on many fronts, said Athar Husain Khan, secretary general of EBAA. But can all industry players cope with this robust demand? “We are managing it today, but we do need to get the balance right between supply, demand, infrastructure, services and inclusion,” he tells FlightGlobal.
Elements of the supply chain, including third party maintenance and the provision of spare parts, are the biggest challenges seen by Wheels Up, according to Dichter. “The supply chain today is more challenged than it was pre-Covid. If we want strong and sustainable growth deep into the future industry needs to collectively deliver a supply chain that can support that.”