More than 25,000 people attended the 66th annual National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas this year. The convention is the world’s largest gathering of members of the business aviation industry. The three-day event included over 1,000 exhibitors and more than 80 aircraft were on display. This is always an exciting event for the bizav industry, and this year was no exception as several new products and innovations were introduced.
Let’s look at some of the innovations that were on display at this year’s show:
- Touchscreen flight decks are on their way to becoming an industry standard as soon as next year. These touchscreens will help pilots maintain a heads-up-eyes-forward focus while quickly cycling through navigational functions. Several manufacturers had the systems on display at this year’s NBAA event, and many are predicting that this technology will become the norm in private jets within a few years.
- Dassault unveiled their highly anticipated Falcon 5x at this year’s show. The company believes this new plane will become the new standard in business aviation. The plane, which includes an industry-first skylight over the entry, can be ordered now for $45 million. This is Dassault’s first new private jet design in over a decade.
- The Falcon wasn’t the only new plane debuted at the 2013 NBAA show. Eclipse Aerospace introduced their Eclipse 550 plane, a private jet for under $3 million — and the only one available at that price in production today. It’s also the most fuel efficient twin-engine jet currently on the market.
- Gulfstream displayed their Elite interior in their G550. The Elite interior includes a high-definition entertainment system, lighting, and temperature all controlled by an iPod touch or app on the user’s mobile phone. Even the seats received an upgrade, with heated seat massage and powered back and leg rests.
While these innovations were exciting, industry leaders also took time to discuss the future of the bizav industry. While all indictors are that sales should be taking off, uncertainty in the world’s current economy is causing business buyers to hold off on jet purchases. However, manufacturers are seeing more purchases from private buyers, and those numbers are only expected to go up.
It wasn’t all business, though. The NBAA also raised $440,000 for the Corporate Angel Network at this year’s event. This non-profit provides free private flights for cancer patients who are seeking treatment in areas around the country. These treatments could improve the patient’s chances of survival, and the organization removes the financial burden from expensive flights. The NBAA raises money for the organization at the show every year.
All in all, this event was a great success. We’re looking forward to seeing the new products and technologies that were on display come to life in the bizav market. If NBAA 2013 was any indication, it looks like 2014 will be an exciting year for the industry!