Bullish was the watchword at the show that almost didn’t happen, the National Business Aviation Association convention, which was relocated from hurrican-devastated New Orleans to Orlando, Florida barely two months before the doors opened to more 30,000 attendees. With their backlogs bulging, manufacturers predicted strong years for 2006 and 2007, but acknowledged their crystal balls become fuzzy in 2008 because of the uncertain effects of high fuel prices and the threat of airspace user fees. NBAA issued a rallying call to business aviation to unite in opposing efforts, strongly backed by the US airlines, to introduce user fees from 2008 as a way to fund the Federal Aviation Administration. Aircraft manufacturers, meanwhile, acknowledge their deliveries would be rising even more rapidly were it not for the challenges they face in re-energising a supply chain relucant to invest in restoring capacity lost in the last downturn. But, with several new and derivative aircraft announcements, the show was decidedly upbeat.

Report by Murdo Morrison, Guy Norris, Graham Warwick and Justin Wastnage

Source: Flight International