NBAA’s 2014 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition Pulls in Numbers on Par with 2013 Event

October 29, 2014

The National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA’s) 2014 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, which took place Oct. 21-23 in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center, held steady this year, with the number of attendees, exhibitors and size of showfloor on par with last year’s event.

“This year’s show was an enormous success, filled with announcements and product introductions,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

He added, “The exhibit floor and aircraft displays had lots of activity and excitement. The education sessions were informative and well attended. The event once again showcased the industry’s size, diversity and significance. Perhaps most important, the show provided many reminders that ours is an industry characterized by passion and professionalism.”

NBAA2014 featured about 1,100 exhibitors in the Orange County Convention Center. Additionally, more than 100 aircraft were displayed in several locations – at a sold-out static display at Orlando Executive Airport, at an indoor display inside the convention center and at various exhibitor booths on the show floor.

More than 26,000 people attended the show, which included representatives from 49 U.S. states and 95 countries around the world.

Along with the numbers demonstrating the strength of this year’s show, Bolen cited several other examples of the convention’s long-lasting value:

•             A crowded Opening General Session, which kicked off the show, featured leaders from government and business. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was joined by Chris Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and Andrew Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings and a long-time business aviation champion who has participated in NBAA’s industry-advocacy initiatives. Also at the session, International Jet Aviation Services received NBAA’s 2014 Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership for its work, through Make-A-Wish America, to use business aviation to help kids’ dreams take flight. Learn more about the Opening General Session.

•             A standing-room-only, second-day Opening Session featured aviation leaders and legends. The session included a welcome from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), a general aviation supporter and senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Nelson was joined by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D), who announced the launch of the Delaware Business Aviation Association, and U.S. Air Force Major Gen. (ret.) Edward Bolton, assistant administrator for NextGen at the FAA, who discussed the newly unveiled NextGen implementation roadmap. At this session, NBAA presented the Association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to aviation icon Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, and then heard election predictions from famed political couple Mary Matalin and James Carville. View an NBAA “Convention Video Minute” with highlights from the session.

•             A new advocacy initiative – announced by Bolen during the convention’s Media Kickoff Breakfast – was unveiled, called “Business Leaders on Business Aviation.” The initiative highlights testimonials from dozens of CEOs on the value of business aviation to their companies, and builds on similar testimonials from 10 CEOs, introduced at NBAA2013, called the “Top Ten.” This year’s CEOs were featured prominently at NBAA2014 signage displayed throughout the event’s exhibit halls, meeting areas and static aircraft displays, as well as in advertisements appearing in daily show publications. Read more about “Business Leaders on Business Aviation,” and view a video of Ed Bolen unveiling the initiative.

•             A full roster of education sessions was held throughout the week, including two packed sessions on the emergence of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (and NBAA’s work to represent business aviation on this issue), as well as a session on considerations for the industry regarding international travel and the Ebola virus. The two sessions were held in NBAA’s newly introduced “Innovation Zone,” located immediately adjacent to the association’s booth on the exhibit floor.

•             A young professionals networking event, on Oct. 21, and a Careers in Business Aviation Day, on Oct. 23, were held, as a means to help bring the next generation of leaders into the industry, and incentivize them to make business aviation a professional career choice. Learn more about NBAA’s young professionals event, and the association’s Careers in Business Aviation Day. Read more about NBAA2014 events focused on attracting young people into the industry.

•             A successful charitable benefit event, co-hosted by NBAA and Corporate Angel Network, raised nearly $400,000 in support of CAN’s mission to provide life-saving flights to take cancer patients to treatment centers aboard business aircraft.

“Clearly, in a host of ways, NBAA’s 2014 convention is one for the record books,” Bolen said. “We are thrilled by the enthusiasm that marked each of the show’s three days, and we are already making plans for next year’s convention in Las Vegas from Nov. 17 to 19, 2015.”

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Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? 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Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.