Private Jet trade group planning for annual trade show in October

By Doug Gollan, May 19, 2020

The National Business Aviation Association says it is moving forward on its NBAA-BACE conference scheduled for October 6-8 in Orlando

NetJets, Flexjet, and Qatar Executive have used NBAA to announce billion-dollar orders of new private jets

The National Business Aviation Association, the trade group representing various facets of the private jet industry, said it is moving forward with plans for its annual conference.

The event, which typically moves back-and-forth between Las Vegas and Orlando, is scheduled for Oct. 6, 7, and 8 in Florida this year.

NBAA BACE annual conference 2020 Orlando
NBAA’s annual conference in Orlando is moving forward as planned. The event typically draws around 23,000 visitors, including private jet buyers

Ed Bolen, the president and CEO of NBAA disclosed the news during a webinar with the International Aircraft Dealers Associations. Members of IADA account for 60% of pre-owned aircraft sales.

A static display, with new and used private jets, is traditionally a key part of the conference, which includes a separate trade show floor, general sessions, breakouts, and press conferences, which are usually standing room only.

Gulfstream, Embraer, Textron announce NetJets, Flexjet, Qatar Executive fleet orders

Manufacturers and fleet operators typically use the NBAA event to announce major orders for new private jets.

Last year, Gulfstream Aerospace used the show to announce Qatar Executive and Flexjet as launch customers for its new G700. Embraer Executive Jets earlier in the day had announced a $1.4 billion order from the second-largest fractional share operator.

Both Wheels Up and Vista Global Holdings also held press events featuring their CEOs. Kenny Dichter used the platform to announce he was launching a fixed-rate large cabin program for his members. Thomas Flohr released news of a new quality tier approach to on-demand charters for his XO unit.

The last time the conference was in Orlando, in 2018, Adam Johnson, CEO of NetJets, used the platform to announce orders and options for up to 325 private jets from Textron’s Cessna unit.

NBAA’s Bolen: Safety First

Bolen told the private jet brokers, “Our first goal is to make sure that all participants are safe. So, we are working hard to understand what the best guidance is.”

He added, “We’re watching the reopening of conventions in places like China. We’re also watching closely to see what organizations such as Disney are doing in Orlando itself, to try to make sure that we know everything there is to know about trying to keep people safe, what those protocols are, and how we can do them in a manner that is both safe and consistent with the business aviation community and what people have come to expect from NBAA base.”

Describing the current status of the show, he said, “We currently are moving forward and planning on having our NBAA-BACE event in Orlando.”

The trade group had previously canceled all events through the end of June. According to its website, typical attendance is around 23,000.

Unlike many conferences, in addition to the B2B contacts, the show attracts private jet consumers. Many fly in and out to visit the displays of new and used private jets. The static display means they can visit multiple OEMs and see new product first-hand.

The private jets on display are used for customer meetings where deals worth tens and hundreds of millions of dollars are discussed.

There may be some irony if the show does take place. One reason many in the industry are optimistic about recovery is that both corporate clients and UHNWs will want to avoid crowed airports, airplanes, and other places with large gatherings of people, such as conferences as trade shows.

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