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EBACE: Business aviation must boost profile with politicians

The business aviation community needs to mobilise to emphasise to regulators, politicians and the general public that it provides an essential service that "fosters communities and economies".

Brian Humphries, chief executive and president of the European Business Aviation Association, said that too frequently politicians had "misunderstandings and misconceptions" about business aviation, which led to poor rule-making.

He cited the UK's planned flat rate tax of £186 ($300) per passenger on each business jet flight as a result of this. It would, he said, raise the cost of a helicopter flight to the Scilly Isles from £50 return to £450.

EBACE opening ceremony 2011, Billypix
 © Billypix

"It shows a complete lack of understanding of what business aviation does. It would hurt not only our industry but also the customers that we serve."

Although business aviation has managed to make its case at European level, that degree of empathy is "not always found among the 27 member states".

His comments were echoed by his counterpart at the National Business Aviation Association, Ed Bolen. He said that too often politicians had the perception that business aviation was solely used by the largest corporations and wealthy individuals. "The reality is that business aviation is largely made up of small to medium-sized businesses," he said.

"We have to fight those perceptions because they represent a threat to our industry."

He said that business aviation not only helped communities and economies "but fosters them" as well.

Maxime Coffin, deputy chairman of the management board at the European Aviation Safety Agency, stressed that he views business aviation as an "essential part of the transportation network".

He said that although business aviation had helped politicians and officials understand that, the general public was still ignorant.

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