The 2023 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), held in Las Vegas, U.S. in October, underscored the industry’s continued growth, mission to achieve net-zero flight, trailblazers and innovation. Honeywell unveiled the 2023 edition of its Global Business Aviation Outlook, predicting that business jet manufacturers will deliver 8,500 aircraft worth over $300 billion over the next 10 years – proving once again that business aviation remains strong. Echoing EBACE 2023 in May, sustainability permeated the agenda, with a dozen industry leaders leveraging business aviation’s largest event to launch a new initiative, Climbing. Fast., affirming the entire sector’s commitment to netzero emissions by 2050. Further illustrating the sector’s commitment to decarbonization, SAF was available at all three Las Vegas-area airports for convention attendees.
Revolutionary advances were on display when it came to the sustainable future of airborne mobility. For the first time ever, thanks to advanced air mobility (AAM) pioneer Volocopter, electric air taxis offered daily demonstration flights in the company’s 2X multirotor personal air vehicle. Several more AAM vehicles were on display from VoltAero, Wisk and others, while unmanned aircraft systems and hybrid-electric aircraft, such as Daher’s TBM-940 EcoPulse, were on demonstration. Meantime Bombardier released images of its 18-foot-wide EcoJet demonstrator, confirming it is now in the second test phase of the research project aimed at garnering knowledge to be applied to future design that may reduce emissions by up to 50%.
Several new aircraft were unveiled. Textron Aviation brought a mockup of its Cessna Citation CJ3 Gen2, set for service entry in 2025, which brings several cockpit and cabin changes to the light jet, including an auto-throttle system. Honda showed off a mock-up of its newly named HondaJet Echelon: a 10-passenger light jet set to enter service in 2028/2029 that will bring Honda one step up the size range to compete with the CJ3, among others. Embraer debuted its Phenom 100EX, expected to be delivered to customers in 2024, which uses the same airframe but provides more room, wider seats, and a revamped interior, as well as new avionics. Another showstopper was the Airbus ACJ Two Twenty, which made its North American static debut.
A notable no-show was American manufacturer Gulfstream. «NBAA-BACE brought together the thrilling innovations and industry visionaries shaping the future of aviation. We had a huge number of exciting product launches and showcased the breakthroughs in propulsion, increasingly efficient aircraft and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) that are cutting emissions while transforming mobility,» said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
Among those innovations, Austria-based F/LIST, providing exclusive interiors for business jets and luxury spaces, made jaws drop by unveiling its F/LAB Aenigma Smart – a customizable and sustainable material seamlessly incorporating electronics for use in side ledges or other cabin control systems. Back-end businesses also proved they are keeping up with the times with CAMP Systems, for example, unveiling an aviation part sales e-commerce solution called SalesEdge Commerce, taking the parts business out of the fax age.
The big connectivity news was that Airbus Corporate Jets and Eutelsat Oneweb signed a deal to jointly develop a satellite connectivity solution called ACJ Connect Link for the company’s family of aircraft. Among other announcements, private charter company AB Jets will acquire three Bombardier Challenger 3500 aircraft, with a contractual option to order a fourth by the end of 2023 and Boeing Business Jets introduced a new streamlined pre-designed cabin layout option for its BBJ737-7 that is to simplify and speed-up the acquisition and completion process for customers.
A BACE would not be complete without some star speaking power. At this edition, tennis superstars and powerhouse philanthropists Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf inspired keynote audiences highlighting the importance of giving back and the benefits of private aviation, while Shark Tank investor and FUBU CEO Daymond John told stories of overcoming challenges and making meaningful change in peoples’ lives. NBAA 2024 has been held in Las Vegas from October 22nd-24th, 2024.