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Fri, Jun 02, 2023

EBACE Shows an Industry Going Whole-Hog on Self-Regulation

NBAA Sees "Spirit of Optimism and Opportunity" Abroad

The National Business Aviation Administration wound down its time at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) 2023 with some remarks about the future of the industry, seeing positive developments and an optimistic attitude.

This year saw many exhibitors pushing for increased efficiency on all fronts, advertising lower fuel burn and emissions throughout their products. While the NBAA's optimistic take could be seen as a hunky-dory, 'ain't life grand' approach to the industry, there's an undercurrent of understanding among business-aviation stakeholders: "We'll regulate ourselves, so the government won't have cause to". With emissions targets being adopted throughout so many industries and countries, private aviation has often found itself the scapegoat of imagined, conspicuous consumption, an easy target for regulators hoping to provide a trophy pelt to show they're doing their darndest to tackle climate goals. 

The industry quickly cottoned to such dangers early on, making efficiency a high priority in its product development and finding any excuse under the sun to put a  cute leaf sticker somewhere on their aircraft. Much like a "Type R" badge from Autozone once added 5 horsepower to the family Civic, a leaf or tree sticker reduces CO2 and NOx emissions by 2% when affixed to the outside of a turbine engine - or at least it feels that way.

The greater aviation industry has indeed been making solid headway on self-regulation, however. Recent improvements on Sustainable Aviation Fuel have borne surprising fruit in allowing the industry to turn the considerable American output of used vegetable oil into passable jet fuel - a win-win that allows greater energy independence while finding a silver lining inside the wider obesity epidemic. Excitement surrounding electric propulsion means that eVTOL aircraft are surging through their prototype phase to soon clutter the skies with sustainable, gas-free electric taxis, maybe even providing additional jobs for aviators. 

The NBAA and its Euro equivalent, the EBAA said that the industry showed off a lot of promising tech along those same lines. Perhaps most important was the fact that much of the "sustainable" stuff shown at EBACE was actually close to commercialization. New stuff like the ACJ 220, Citation Ascend, Challenger 3500, and the Gulfstream G800 may have caught the attention of buyers, but the real excitement comes from seeing a tidal shift cresting out in the distance. 
 
“At EBACE, we saw how business aviation is reinventing the very technology of flight to take on new missions, serve new customers and connect the world sustainably,” said EBAA Chairman Juergen Wiese. “For decades, our industry has pioneered breakthroughs to fly not only further but more efficiently, and at EBACE, we accelerated our incredible pace of innovation.”

“We saw amazing new aircraft announced and debuted, designed to meet the needs of an evolving global business marketplace,” said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen. "We had a first-hand look at the fuels, propulsion systems and technologies that will lead to net-zero flight. We were inspired by the trailblazers in our industry who are championing teamwork and inclusion. EBACE showed us all that is possible today, and how our shared vision will shape tomorrow.”

FMI: www.nbaa.org

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