NBAA 2004: Dat's A Wrap...

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It's over, except for the shouting, the hangovers and the wallets emptied after a week or so in Las Vegas. In the wake of the 2004 edition of the National Business Aviation Association's 57th Annual Meeting and Convention, which was held Oct. 12 through 14, the association is patting itself on the back and most who attended profess themselves pleased with the results. Some of the raw numbers tell the tale: The event closed out with a total of 31,259 attendees, a 9.4 percent increase over last year's total of 28,574 in Orlando; a new record of 1,084 exhibitors was set; and 87 aircraft were on NBAA's formal static display at the Henderson (Nev.) Executive Airport, with some untold number of "gray market" airframes also being hawked. Exhibitors occupied a million square feet of exhibit space in the Las Vegas Convention Center. In a nutshell, optimism and growth were the watchwords on everyone's lips during the week. Several manufacturers professed pleasure with their results at the show, reflecting those sentiments. For example, Cessna said it picked up 47 new aircraft orders spread among 41 Citations and six Caravans. Additionally, the company said it pre-sold 22 orders for the newly announced Citation CJ2+. “The sales that were secured during NBAA included orders for the CJ1+, CJ2+, CJ3, Bravo, Encore, XLS, Sovereign and Caravan,” stated Cessna Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Roger Whyte, who added that the level of new orders exceeded Cessna's expectations. “The optimism we felt at the convention reflects the positive growth of the industry projected in forecasts by both Honeywell and Rolls Royce,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. A veteran of NBAA shows past, this was Bolen's first as the association's top dog, having recently made the transition from his former post at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Additionally, this year's event also saw incoming NBAA staffers Steve Brown, formerly of the FAA, and J.E. “Sandy” Murdock, who joined NBAA on Oct. 18 as senior vice president of administration and general counsel from his position as an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Shaw Pittman LLP.