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Back to the Future at EBACE

Attending EBACE? You have to check out the future at BBA Aviation (Booth No. 7030, Hall 7).

BBA Aviation – home of our clients Signature Flight Support and Dallas Airmotive – features an all-digital presentation that does more than simply convey static messages. It lets you interact with it.

Go ahead, don’t be shy. Walk up and give it a whirl. Want to study something more closely? Make it bigger. Curious about something specific? Drill down into the details.

Your (QR) Code Word
While you’re there, take out your phone and shoot a picture of one of Signature’s table cards. Not just because they’re so beautiful (we do think they display a definite understated elegance – but we could be biased). The cards display QR codes that allow you to connect effortlessly to additional, up-to-date information on any of Signature’s 100-plus locations worldwide.

Not familiar with QR codes? Here’s the perfect opportunity to check ’em out. They’re ideal for rapidly changing, complex information and special offers.

Tweet, Tweet
While you’re at the BBA Aviation booth, stop and chat with the friendly Signature folks. Can’t make it to the booth? Twitter will make you feel like you’re there. Signature is using EBACE to unveil its new Twitter initiative. Leveraging the power and immediacy of this social networking tool, Signature will let you know about service specials, new locations and just general news you can use – all in real time and accessible wherever you can connect to the Internet.

Private Aviation Getting Less Private

Security and confidentiality have long been key benefits of corporate aviation. By blocking aircraft identification or “N numbers,” private operators in the States could reduce risks large (think kidnapping and sabotage) and small (eluding fans and journalists). That may be changing.

A recent FAA notice of proposed modification (NPM) would greatly limit the times private aircraft operators can exclude their aircraft data from appearing in public data-feeds. (You can read the full proposal here.) In a nutshell, it would provide an exemption only if an operator makes a strong case supporting verifiable, valid security concerns for the aircraft or its passengers. Not everyone at risk of bodily harm, death threats or terrorist activity can prove such risks. General concerns? Gut instinct? Simply not enough.

And, of course, that in no way addresses business motivations for keeping competitors in the dark about top-tier executives’ movements. Scouting new properties for acquisition/expansion. Meeting with potential new partners.

Leaving Well Enough Alone

Our general aviation industry has been hard hit in recent years. This NPM would be another blow. We need to balance the need for information with the need for security. The program as it stands achieves this balance. This is a change that doesn’t need to be made.

A FAA reauthorization package in the House of Representatives preserves the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program as it currently functions. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and other major groups have expressed their BARR-curtailment concerns to Washington. It’s not too late to make your voice heard.

Encourage Congress to support House language preserving the BARR program. Simply click here.

EBACE: Get Your Tweet On

Business aviation will shine this month in Geneva, Switzerland, at the annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE). Organizers expect the event – May 17-19 – to be the biggest yet. A record number of exhibitors will occupy an unprecedented amount of space. EBACE 2011 will attract the international business aviation community – all eager to see the latest aircraft, network with other professionals and catch up with friends.

Only in its 11th year, EBACE quickly has become the European counterpart to the National Business Aviation Association convention held each fall in the United States. Perhaps not surprising, considering NBAA co-sponsors EBACE.

Conventions offer the perfect opportunity for a business to exploit the power of new media options, as Bombardier Aerospace demonstrates with a punchy little microsite advancing its EBACE plans. The site, which comes up near the top on a quick Google search, tells EBACE visitors where to find them, what aircraft it plans to showcase, invites you to a celebratory reception – all the standard information.

Get in Touch, Stay in Touch

The site goes beyond the basics. It gives you an easy way to add Bombardier’s events to your calendar of choice, lets you sign up for announcements and updates during EBACE, encourages you to share the site on a variety of platforms and more.

In effect, Bombardier seeks to create its own community within the larger EBACE audience. The company ensures that it’s communicating with its most important constituency, and individuals at EBACE can be assured they won’t miss anything.

The important lesson here is that these new media are not broad-brush solutions. Instead, they are increasingly precise tools. As with all tools, you have to use them to fully understand their power – and their limitations. Our best advice: get started. Go slow and evaluate. Adjust and keep at it.

Sink or Soar

Twitter doesn’t serve all needs. But it delivers immediacy like nothing else can. Facebook is no panacea. But it’s hard to imagine the company that can’t find it a relationship builder. The list of tools keeps growing and changing. You can become overwhelmed and throw up your hands. Or you can see it as your most savvy competitors do: endless possibilities.

Meanwhile, if you plan to visit EBACE: Tap out the tweets. Finesse your Facebook page. Follow your friends. You’ll have more fun, you’ll make more efficient use of your time. And you just might start thinking, “You know, we could …”