NBAA 2018
(Photo: David McIntosh)

Major Bizav Convention Canceled Due To COVID-19

Citing health and safety concerns, the National Business Aviation Association took the extraordinary step yesterday of canceling its 2020 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which was to have taken place from October 6 to 8 in Orlando, Florida. The association pointed to guidance from public health officials and the challenges of staging an event as big as its annual meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBAA made its decision as the number of virus cases was rising in many states, including Florida. NBAA-BACE typically draws upwards of 30,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors, but Florida's Department of Health advises individuals to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.

Early exhibitor numbers undoubtedly reflected pandemic-related concerns. The show typically draws about 1,000 exhibitors but at the time of its cancellation, only 547 had committed to participate. Textron Aviation already had indicated that it did not plan to attend.

“The promotion of safety is a primary reason NBAA was founded in 1947, and safety is at the foundation of all we are today,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen in a statement announcing the decision. “As COVID-19 has emerged as a pandemic, NBAA has consistently looked to local, state, federal, and global health officials to inform our decisions and guide our actions with regard to live events…we regret that this year’s event must be grounded.”

The decision to cancel what would have been its 73rd annual convention was not an easy one for the association, which depends heavily on its events—and in particular NBAA-BACE—to fund its many activities. It said it would begin preparation for the 2021 NBAA-BACE, which is scheduled for October 12 to 14 in Las Vegas.