I have been following closely the “Occupy Wall Street” protests going on around the country to see if their protests have reached us here in the area of business aviation. To date, I have yet to see any specific attacks on the industry in spite of the fact that private and corporate jets and a major industry that is used by the 1% that is under scrutiny. It is true that the 1% that is being held up as part of the elite that is the target of the people that are protesting are a major contributor to the business aviation industry by way of purchasing and leasing private jets. It is also important to understand that the world of business aviation is a major contributor to well paying jobs and contributes to manufacturing and jobs that President Obama is trying desperately to bring back and make a part of his jobs bill.
In a letter and statement to President Obama, the National Business Aviation Association expressed their displeasure in what has been an underlying attack on the industry by statements made by the President, and in part I thought I would restate what the NBAA stated that may be pertinent:
Business aviation represents one of the great American industries. It generates highly skilled and well-paying jobs, including the kind of manufacturing jobs you have said are a priority for your administration. It brings economic development to thousands of communities with little or no scheduled airline service. It helps U.S. companies be efficient and flexible – important traits for businesses trying to compete in a global marketplace. And, business aviation helps our country care for its most vulnerable, whether responding to earthquakes and floods, transporting organs for patients, or taking cancer victims to treatment.
To date, the protests have not targeted our industry as an elite only industry, but I assume as they get better organized they will begin to hold out companies that cater to the 1%. I hope that the NBAA is working on a strategy to combat those claims and that they look at the overall industry instead of making disparaging remarks or making it appear that the industry is to blame for the current economic crisis.
For a copy of the NBAA June 30, 2011 advocacy letter to President Obama, it can be downloaded from their site.