An increasingly contentious political environment, combined with the looming threat of harsh new regulatory burdens, has spurred the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) recently to launch “Business Aviation Works.” The campaign promotes the importance of business aviation operations throughout the country, and aims to educate those seeking to stymie the Canadian industry with new rules and fees.
“From a North American perspective, business aviation has been under attack from the government for a variety of reasons, including political ones,” explained CBAA president and CEO Sam Barone. “While some do recognize the importance of business aviation, others seem willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater, by taking a massive economic enabler and placing it under a harsh magnifying glass, all for political expediency.”
Barone noted Business Aviation Works is similar to the No Plane, No Gain advocacy campaign, sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, but “on a Canadian scale.” The program recalls Canada’s rich aviation history, starting with the bush pilots who first connected outlying rural areas of the country. Those pilots were “our first business aviators,” CBAA notes, and similar operations continue to spearhead Canada’s economic growth today.
“Companies use business aviation to visit multiple locations in a single day, to deal with customers face to face, to deliver personnel and equipment and to use the time in the sky to conduct business in a confidential and secure atmosphere,” CBAA states, adding that the overwhelming majority of business aircraft “are operated by a broad cross-section of organizations and business, large, medium and small.”
Business aviation is also significant provider of aerospace jobs throughout the country. CBAA states that, in addition to the thousands of jobs offered by the engine manufacturers, charter services and fixed-base operations supporting business aircraft operations, Canada is also home to the world’s largest business aircraft manufacturer (Bombardier) on a nation-to-nation scale.
The climate for the business aviation community in Canada is in some ways similar to that in the U.S. As the U.S. aviation community confronts the Obama administration’s recent proposal to add user fees to general aviation operations, Barone pointed to a move underway in Canada to impose severe new regulatory burdens on private operators in the country.
“There is a move in Canada to embrace new regulatory burdens that would negate the economic benefits our sector has to give,” Barone said, referring to an Interim Order recently published by Transport Canada that may become law by the end of the year. “Of course such regulations are important for safety, but the Canadian government has implied our sector is not an overly-safe one, in need of stricter regulatory framework.
“The Interim Order goes beyond the size and scope of what is needed for private operators, threatening airline-type safety oversight of operators that aren’t in the airline business,” Barone continued. “We need to impress upon Transport Canada and the rest of the Canadian government that the sustainability of our sector and companies simply cannot withstand additional regulations. Instead, we need a smart regulatory framework so we may continue to conduct operations safely, and economically.”
Barone concludee that if those regulations do become the law of the land, the economic benefits of business aviation Canadians now enjoy may be severely curtailed, and even disappear. “If we continue down the current regulatory path in Canada,” he said pointedly, “business aviation will not work anymore.”