This week, the term “business aviation” is making its way into local headlines, as my organization hosts an annual convention that gathers thousands of professionals whose companies rely on the use of mostly small airplanes to meet their transportation challenges.
If you live and work in Las Vegas, this conference may seem obscure, but the impact of the event — and of business aviation in the area — is real: According to researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, business aviation generates nearly $130 million in economic output for the Silver State, while accounting for more than 1,600 direct and indirect jobs.
Nevada is home to 47 public-use airports used by companies with a business airplane, which connect local organizations of all sizes — from small businesses to nonprofits — to the global marketplace. The overwhelming majority of these businesses are small- to midsize companies. What’s true of Nevada is true across the United States: Nationwide, the manufacture and use of business airplanes contributes $150 billion to the U.S. economy, and employs more than 1 million workers.
Perhaps also little known is the industry’s focus on sustainability, and the fact that as a portion of transportation emissions, business aircraft are leaving the smallest carbon footprint since the invention of the airplane.
That said, we’re not content to rest on our laurels — when it comes to sustainability, the people and companies in business aviation are focused on the future. Indeed, the issue of sustainability will be front and center in Las Vegas this week. Clark County officials will join me in welcoming the introduction of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) to Henderson Executive Airport as part of the convention. These fuels — developed and certified as safe and ready for use — are helping pave the way to carbon neutrality for business aviation in the years to come.
It is important for industry leaders to create jobs and grow the economy; however, we must also focus on sustainability, and business aviation has countless opportunities to do just that. We are seizing those opportunities — in Las Vegas and across the country — and we look forward to building on our progress in the years to come.
Ed Bolen serves as president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in Washington, D.C.