Given the pressure on our industry and the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, 2019 was a very positive year for your association. There were several items worthy of mention to give you a good indication of our activities.
- The was a question mark hanging over our sector regarding the import status of our sectors aircraft imported through the UK in the past decades. In the event of a hard Brexit we were faced with a position of re-importing all those aircraft back to the UK from their EU imported status. We were really pleased to secure confirmation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that in the event of any hard Brexit those aircraft would be grandfathered to the UK without additional requirements. As a by-product even those not directly in our sector, or who are currently not members will benefit from this result. Remember there is still an outside chance that following trade discussions that this could still materialise, but at least we can undertake the necessary business planning. Click here for the full report.
- We have worked closely with DfT this year on the Future Aviation Strategy 2050 and held several workshops along with our written submission on your behalf. Whilst this will continue into 2020 with a white paper likely in the second half of the year, we will continue to work closely with the DfT team.
- There has been very good progress with the Home Office team around the issue of access to the UK for our clients. With the advent of online General Aviation Reports (GAR), we have seen the opportunity to pursue a long-held desire to establish a process on Known clients and approved organisations to facilitate safe, transparent and effective transit of regular clients to the UK. There is every chance for us to see this progress in 2020 and with that change we will see in the future a much simpler approach for a significant proportion of clients when they transit the UK. Click here to see a short video detailing the process.
- During 2019 we have been able to secure the formation of a strategic airworthiness forum for the UK (UKASF). This body has pulled together all the major players for the UK in the field of Airworthiness so that we now have a single working group to drive things forward for the aviation industry when working with the CAA. That body the full spectrum of airlines, maintenance repair organisations, BBGA, Helicopter association (BHA) and the RAeS HF Engineering group. Participation will be broadened to make sure that we embrace new technologies and their associated modes of transport. The group have selected me to be their chairman.
- We held a Next Generation event in conjunction with EBAA last October at the new Stansted training facility. This was well received and the concept of developing centres of excellence and the need for immediate action was well received. Having been supported by the new Aviation Minister this sets us up nicely to continue this work in 2020. I cannot over emphasise the need for our industry to grab this issue with both hands and work together to create the right environment to attract the next generation of staff to meet our future requirements.
- Our annual conference in March was very well received and your support for the event continues to grow year on year. We will be located at Luton Hoo in 2020, but this year we are trying a new twist to the event by focusing the whole event at the main Mansion House and taking over a significant portion of the facility. With a conference based on sustainability, both environment and business I think you will find your conference on the 5th of March a really great event. With the change in venue we can take even more attendees, so look to encourage your next generation to join us, we will look to make them welcome. Click here for full details and registration.
- The Christmas networking and awards session in London has now been running for three years. This has proved to be extremely popular and was recognised to have the right balance of business networking along with embracing the Christmas spirit. Again, your support for the event increases year on year and for this year we might need to find an even larger venue.
- In a European context the national association forum worked with EBAA continues to grow. The group is called the Council of European Business Aviation Associations. We have recently welcomed Israel and the new Spanish association to the council. We hold our meetings in Brussels and endeavour to drive through agreed strategic to enhance our sector. The group have selected me to chair their council.
- We have our own European association (European Council of General Support) representing airworthiness and training issues. That group continues to represent our interests with EASA, and we work closely with IAOPA and EBAA to reflect a robust sector position with the regulators. The group have asked me to continue as their chair of ECOGAS.
With our new Chair, Aoife O Sullivan, and several new board members your association continues to work robustly on your behalf. We are in an ideal position to continue our close work with both the CAA and the UK Government. Our European profile is well set irrespective of any ongoing trade discussions. Your association will still be able to represent you fully irrespective of the final Brexit negotiations because of our European links.
Many thanks to all our members for their excellent support through the year supporting our workgroups, events and workshops. My thanks to members who have sponsored us through the year as without that support we would not be able to do the work on your behalf. It is worth reminding everyone that as a not for profit organisation we do not operate with huge reserves and we really rely on membership fees along with the support of events to balance the books. Please continue that support and if you can encourage non-members to join your association.
It would be wrong if I did not mention the work done by your secretariat team of Lindsey, Rachael and Sandra. As well as all the routine stuff that we take for granted the they have managed big IT changes along with additional events and done so with a smile. I am sure you appreciate what they do for the members, have a successful 2020 and see you at the conference at Luton Hoo on the 5th of March.