The Path Ahead

President’s Message

2022 ended strong, but the challenges (and opportunities) ahead of us in 2023 are becoming clearer.

Commercial Service Gaps

The combination of the COVID pandemic and a pilot shortage, particularly among the regional airlines, has caused the commercial airline system to abandon many small markets. As a result, the number of authorized public charter operators and proposed scheduled 135 flights has increased.

But as this trend grows in certain communities, we have noticed a lack of understanding on the facts of these permitted regulations and insufficient knowledge about the economic value and critical access these solutions offer in the wake of significantly reduced commercial air service. To that end, NATA developed educational material to ensure all impacted parties understand the regulatory requirements and have clarity on established guidelines for authorized public charter. NATA’s “Public Charter Operations” white paper provides background and outlines operational areas of interest including surveillance, community outreach, data, agency/operator connections, and operator safety. We also seek to familiarize on-demand carriers with the privileges and limitations of public charter operations to best support their own operations as well as enhance public awareness efforts.

Part 380 and scheduled 135 operations are well established programs and growth in both areas is beneficial to the on-demand industry represented by NATA, but we also recognize this opportunity could too be met with challenges created by today’s highly competitive labor market.

Workforce Shortages

With workforce shortages continuing to persist across all industry segments, levels, and areas of responsibility, aviation business leaders must prioritize employee retention while embracing innovative recruitment strategies. Focusing on collaboration, creativity, culture, and consistency will yield results in both areas.

To assist in those efforts, NATA is developing a comprehensive tool for posting, finding, and researching aviation business career opportunities. NATA’s Aviation Career Navigator will highlight what makes our industry unique and ensure that our members stand out as we energize and enlist new entrants into our segment.

We also need to seek entrants from non-traditional sources; build a positive, inclusive culture; and ensure that our employees understand the value of their contributions to the organization, local community, and beyond. For example, they should feel invested in the positive direction of our industry as a whole in fostering exciting innovations in advanced air mobility (AAM) and environmental sustainability. 

Environmental and Ecosystem Considerations

In addition to the environmental progress the industry has made with alternative fuels, we need to examine emerging fuel and other technologies that will modernize airports and aircraft with increased efficiencies. Over the next decade, we’ll need to leverage communication, collaboration, and cooperation across all aviation verticals to maintain a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.

Some of that effort is being accomplished through NATA’s committee structure, which represents air charter, FBO, airport, MRO, and other segments. The committees are already at work examining challenges, seeking opportunities, and identifying solutions that will assist our members today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now. Together, we’re creating a solid foundation for emerging industry entrants and new technologies.

NATA’s recently formed AAM Committee is guiding the air charter community, FBOs and airports as they plan to integrate the next generation of aircraft. The Committee’s focus on a safe operational environment and sustainable infrastructure such as vertiports will lead to innovative solutions in transporting people and goods that will impact the overall aviation ecosystem.

The Association is also seeing interest rise in our NATA Sustainability Standard for Aviation Businesses – a free, voluntary tool for reducing industry greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of more environmentally friendly energy sources, reducing waste, and encouraging operation-wide sustainability. Our members are committed to advancing industry sustainability practices and are proud to share their achievements in reducing their carbon footprint. NATA is pleased to provide a resource and a tool to accomplish both.

As always, with great challenge comes great opportunity and NATA and our members are already leveraging collaboration and ingenuity to prevail. Together, we are stronger.

 

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Welcome to the Aviation Business Journal, the official publication of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).

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