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Taking a Stand for Business Aviation Comes with Challenges and Rewards

Regs | May 22, 2015

Author: Scott Macpherson

It is my privilege to serve the business aviation community as the Canadian representative and Vice-Chairman of the Governing Board of the International Business Aviation Council ( IBAC’s primary role in the industry is to represent business aviation to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is headquartered in Montreal. There, representatives from governments around the world determine international policy and practices to which member nations agree to adhere, by and large. In Canada, a Signatory State to ICAO and the Chicago Convention of 1944 that ultimately led to ICAO’s creation, Transport Canada must take the ICAO policies and practices and formulate national policy and systems to meet the agreed upon requirements. Each nation has the right to file differences for various reasons, such as geographical or economic limitations.

We have just finished one of our semi-annual meetings, this one in conjunction with EBACE in Geneva, a show with real panache. What I gain from spending my own time and money on this, aside from the satisfaction of knowing that what I am doing is making business aviation safer and more efficient, is an education in how and why some things happen, even if they seem to make no sense in my experience or national context. I also have the pleasure of working with incredibly bright and dedicated people who share a passion for business aviation and who come from many backgrounds. These people are the leaders of the whole industry and show sterling character and judgment.

One thing that amazes me is the constancy and consistency of the challenges that arise around the world for business aviation. I have long heard and read about business aviation having to fight for equal treatment by regulators, air traffic control, airports, local community governments, ICAO, and other associations such as airline lobby groups. Airspace access, airport slots, aircraft parking access and security, fuel delivery, de-icing locations, pricing, and many other issues show up time and time again with surprisingly similar characteristics in every part of the world. Prejudice against and misperception of business aviation is another amazingly consistent issue, more prevalent in certain nations such as the UK but still present everywhere. Dishonest images of luxury cabins instead of working aircraft with seven people squeezed into a small space are used all too commonly by reporters with a general distaste for business aviation, rather than knowledge.

Though it can be exhausting and sometimes daunting, it can be a pleasure to work to ensure that we are correctly understood in the public’s eye as well as by those affecting our operations. Given that one business aircraft can produce multiples of the economic effect of a loaded heavy airliner, the argument is on our side and I have to believe that the world will eventually come to see this.


Scott Macpherson is the President and Founder of and Vice-Chairman of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) Governing Board. He is currently Captain on a Falcon 900LX.

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