What is the NBAA?


This week the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition is happening in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 17-19, 2023. The Airmart team is tagging along for the annual conference! Every year, institutions meet to share all the latest groundbreaking technology and lead the way in aircraft discoveries. In other words, it is the ultimate event to learn, grow, and collaborate in all facets of flying for businesses. 


Originally founded in 1947, the NBAA is based in Washington, DC. It is the leading organisation guiding commercial establishments in aiding their general aviation endeavours. Their mission is to foster an environment allowing aviation operations to thrive internationally. 



The association represents over 11,000 enterprises and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community promulgating efforts in efficiency, success, and productivity. Additionally, it is the largest civil aviation trade show in the world.


Aside from learning about the newest engines and other pioneering design innovations, sharing a sense of community is a hallmark of the affair. When creating a shared sense of belonging, improving safety in flight becomes an expedited commitment.


If it were not for the vision and determination of a group of men who met at the Wings Club in New York, air transportation today would look entirely alien. It was in the spring of 1946 where commercial, business, and personal flying erupted in resurgence. 


Out of the post-World War II period emerged an expansion of scheduled airlines. Independent non-scheduled freight and passenger operations caprioled from all sides. Bearing in mind the advancement of utility aircraft during the war, business firms met a fulcrum in their journey turning to air transport. Regulations also thrusted such trades to meet the accelerating tempo of competition.


Business air space was the only fragment of the air operations industry not yet tabulated. Airlines had the Air Transport Association (ATA) while pilots had the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Independent freight lines formed their own group and the lightplane flyers were well served by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).


This naturally collocated an informal meeting among thirteen men led by a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps, Palmer J. “Bud” Lathrop. His knowledge of air operations fortified his position as chief spokesman of the organisation as he was then vice president of Bristol Meyers and succeeded as president of Cameron Machinery Company.


Lathrop wrote to a number of company presidents inviting them to attend a meeting for support. Sixteen entities were represented in person thus forming The Corporation Aircraft Owners Association (CAOA), subsequently to be renamed the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA). 


A Board of Directors consisted of nine individuals while bylaws were simultaneously adopted. The launch of this new faction manufactured plans to steer the fledgling consortium to permanent subsistence. 



Representatives of ten companies propounded their advocacies. Namely, Republic Steel, Sinclair Oil, Champion Paper, Bristol-Meyers, Howes Brothers, American Rolling Mills, B.F. Goodrich, Burlington Mills, United Cigar-Whelan and Socony Vacuum. All while William B. Belden of Republic Steel served as chairman.


Today, the NBAA is led by a Board of Directors, a team of experienced senior executives and the continuing guidance provided by a network of Councils, Standing Committees and Strategic Focus Teams.


The incipient agglomeration was established as a not-for-profit corporation on February 17, 1947. The first annual meeting was held on September 24, 1947 at the Biltmore Hotel in New York where its original nascent stages were developed. 


A new challenge was on the horizon for business aviation as the Korean War commenced. In January 1951, the Administrator of the then Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) wrote to CAOA suggesting that it moves its headquarters to Washington, D.C. in order to work chiefly with CAA, particularly in the handling of wartime priorities for aircraft supplies. 


By 1988, the assemblage’s name was transmogrified to the National Business Aviation Association as it became clear it should reflect its national scope and ongoing commitment to serve the needs of the entire business aviation community.


Amidst its dawning metamorphosis into a formidable and internationally recognised force, the NBAA adheres unfailingly to its purpose in protecting the aviation interests of its members. This necessitated all matters of aviation to be improved upon regarding industry components including equipment, aircraft, and service. The philosophy to further safety, fair access, and efficiency continuously propagates steady growth in business aircraft operations.


NBAA is at the forefront of international issues such as an international aviation policy and standardisation of global air traffic systems since the world of aviation has become more global. 

The not-for-profit association has long been a technology champion with awards to recognise significant aviation achievements along with giving to multiple charities. It is the focal point for identifying and understanding advances in aircraft developments and procedures imperative to the business aviation community. 

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