With NBAA’s Scheduler & Dispatchers Conference (SDC) officially launching today in California at the San Diego Convention Center, NBAA head Ed Bolen highlighted changes the industry has seen since the event was last held live in 2020.
“We’re not coming back to S&D in 2022 where we left off: we’re stronger, we’re better than we have ever been before,” Bolen stated during this morning’s opening session. “Flight hours are up, inventory of used aircraft is down, and backlogs for new aircraft are now out three or four years.”
Reflecting back over the two years since SDC 2020 was halted midstream due to a national wave of Covid-induced event cancellations, Bolen’s focus was not on what was lost by the flight scheduling community, but what it gained as it rose to meet the challenge of increasing activity at a time when private flight became an even more vital transportation mode. “We gained a sense of purpose…because a lot of times it’s only when there is intense pressure that you find out what’s really at the core.”
While technology was a major theme at the 2020 event, Bolen observed that innovation did not remain static in the grip of the pandemic. “We are far ahead of where we were two years ago,” he said, adding that many announced developments are now moving to the marketplace. “New aircraft models, new designs, advances in advanced air mobility, companies that were just [established] have now been well funded and are well down the certification process.”
As well, Bolen mentioned the increasing recognition of sustainability. “Over the last two years, we’ve seen that sustainable aviation fuel has gone from being something that few people in our industry might have heard of to being something that was celebrated in big sustainable fuel day at the White House.”