This week the 2023 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE 2023) is being held in Las Vegas from Tuesday through Thursday, October 17-19, 2023. This year takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Henderson Executive Airport (HND).
The annual event, arranged by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), is the world’s largest business aviation event, where business aviation aircraft manufacturers and other companies and professionals in the industry come together to interact and showcase their products and services. It is the business aviation industry’s version of the Paris Air Show or Farnborough, although the venue changes every year. Some refer to the event as the “Super Bowl of Business Aviation.” NBAA is also one of the organizations behind the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE), which is the annual meeting place for the European business aviation community, held in May this year in Geneva, Switzerland.
Unfortunately, for the second time in three years, Gulfstream, which is the world’s largest business jet manufacturer ahead of Bombardier, will not take part in the convention. This certainly puts a little bit of a damper on the event. The company, however, had a large presence at EBACE earlier this year, and at NBAA-BACE last year in Orlando, Gulfstream brought several prototypes and production aircraft to the event, including the G800. The decision to opt out of the event has raised eyebrows and sparked curiosity within the business aviation community. Gulfstream’s own explanation for not attending was somewhat vague, simply stating, “Gulfstream consistently reviews and evaluates our marketing investments to ensure we are delivering on our mission – to create and deliver the world’s finest aviation experience for our customers.” According to Private Jet Clubs, a business aviation news source, in recent years, Gulfstream has focused on holding private events and experiences for its customers. The decision to skip NBAA-BACE likely reflects a shift in the company’s strategy toward more targeted and customer-centric events. It should not be regarded as a lack of commitment to the industry as such. When asked about Gulfstream’s decision to opt out when it was announced a few months ago, NBAA’s Senior Vice President of Communications, Dan Hubbard, commented, “All exhibitors at NBAA’s convention build their business plans – including as they relate to event participation – around their own set of business priorities, and we respect the decision Gulfstream has made, based on its own considerations.”
However, all the other big players will be in attendance and showcasing their aircraft. The world’s second-largest business aviation aircraft manufacturer by revenue in 2022, Bombardier, is bringing five aircraft to the event, including the Challenger 3500, Challenger 650, a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Challenger 300, Global 6500, and Global 7500. The world’s third-largest, Textron, will have as many as eight aircraft on display, including four Cessna Citation-series business jets (Longitude, Latitude, CJ4, and M2) and three turboprops (Beechcraft King Air 360 and Denali and the Cessna Caravan), as well as the Bell 429 helicopter. Furthermore, Textron has announced that a mockup of the new Cessna Citation Ascend will make its North American debut at the show. The fourth-largest company, Dassault, will bring the Falcon 8X, the Falcon 2000LXS, and a Falcon 10X mock-up. Embraer, the fifth in the world, will showcase four business jets: the Praetor 500 and 600 and the Phenom 100EV and 300E. Also, Embraer will debut its new Phenom 100EX at the convention. The aircraft was unveiled on October 10. Pilatus (#7) will have its PC-12 turboprop and PC-24 business jet on display, while Cirrus (#8) will bring along the SF50 business jet and the piston-powered SR22. As a side note, the SR22 is one of the most iconic aircraft in the business aviation industry. While small, with 439 units sold (280 SR22Ts and 159 SR22s) in 2022, more SR22s were sold than any other business aviation aircraft. The closest rival was the Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP with 151 units sold.
Bombardier is rapidly closing in on Gulfstream’s position as the largest business jet manufacturer in terms of revenues, something that could happen soon when third-quarter sales figures are released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) next month. Bombardier is already ahead by number of business jets sold. From the mid-2000s and into the early 2010s, Bombardier was the market leader by revenues, before being surpassed by Gulfstream in 2013. In this transition, the big game-changer was the G650’s huge success. By revenues, the Georgia-based company has now retained the lead for 10 consecutive years. Bombardier’s revenue growth in the past few years is due to strong Global 7500 sales. In the coming years, we can expect the rivalry between Bombardier and Gulfstream in the large bizjet segment to intensify. The CSeries (now A220) woes have no doubt weighed Bombardier down in the past. However, the company is now a fully focused business jet manufacturer ready to take on its American rival for the industry’s top crown.
Also joining the show are commercial jet makers Airbus and Boeing. Airbus will debut the ACJ220 and showcase the ACH160 helicopter. The ACJ220 is based on the A220-100 commercial jet. Boeing will put its 737 MAX-based BBJ on display.
The 2023 edition of NBAA-BACE also features special events and dozens of educational sessions and Professional Development Program (PDP) courses, covering topics of interest to attendees. Prior to the official opening, Monday October 16 is press day and, on October 17 and 18, keynote addresses will be delivered by tennis legends Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf as well as entrepreneur, investor, and Shark Tank TV personality Daymond John, and Colonel Nicole Malachowski, the first female Thunderbird pilot, combat veteran, fighter squadron commander, White House fellow and advisor.
Sustainability will be a key focus area at the event. Held in conjunction with NBAA-BACE, the three-day 2023 Business Aviation Sustainability Summit will allow attendees to hear from experts about sustainability progress and collaborative initiatives within the aviation industry. Also, aircraft departing Las Vegas’ three airports after NBAA-BACE will have the opportunity to fill up on sustainable aviation fuel.
Get ready for an exciting three days ahead. At Forecast International, we will cover the event throughout the week and provide insight into the latest industry trends, new business aviation aircraft, sales and market shares, and much more.