NBAA-BACE Helps Future of Aviation Become a Reality

NBAA-BACE Helps Future of Aviation Become a Reality
December 14, 2023 Jerry Vallely
Colin Rolerkite, Christina Henderlong and Sandra Shore

Representatives from our St. Louis Downtown Airport team were among the thousands on hand at the 2023 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). Known as business aviation’s largest annual event, the conference was held in Las Vegas Oct. 17-19 and brought together business leaders, owners, operators, government officials, manufacturers, corporate aviation department personnel and many others involved in business aviation. Those attending had the unique opportunity to interact with other dedicated and visionary individuals and explore technologies that are driving the excitement, safety and sustainability of aviation.

“This year’s NBAA-BACE was unforgettable on every level,” said Ed Bollen, President and CEO of NBAA. “We saw history in the making, with new types of carbon-free aircraft taking flight, a new advocacy initiative launched to champion the industry’s mission to net-zero flying, and a new generation of leaders making this industry all their own. During this incredible week, the future started to become reality.”

Sustainability was a central theme of the event, with a dozen leaders from across the industry officially launching the new “Climbing. Fast.” initiative at the conference. The new advocacy campaign is aimed at setting the record straight on business aviation’s many societal benefits, including its leadership role in sustainability, which is underscored by a sharp focus on achieving net-zero carbon emissions from flight in the years to come. The campaign will elevate a message about the game-changing technologies that are fostering business aviation sustainability on the ground and in the air.

The conference featured dozens of education sessions covering topics of interest to all attendees, from those considering the use of an airplane to support their business needs, to those who have long used an airplane to help their business succeed. A robust slate of safety programming was a highlight of more than a dozen of the sessions, with government and industry experts discussing a variety of safety lessons learned from real-life incidents and accidents. Topics included strategies for mitigating risks, supporting mental health and wellness to enhance safety, scaling SMS to meet the needs of all operating segments and learning how to work together to lower accident rates and promote safer operations.

The event also featured more than 800 exhibitors showcasing stunning concepts, including unmanned aircraft systems and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles – a concept of air transportation using electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to move people and cargo between places not currently or easily served by surface transportation or existing aviation modes. An outdoor aircraft display featured dozens of the latest business aircraft, including the convention debuts of the Airbus ACJ220 and Textron Aviation Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop.

Growing the business aviation workforce and helping to foster the next generation of leaders was also a main theme of the conference. It included a first-of-its-kind Career Fair, featuring 16 companies recruiting job candidates for opportunities in business aviation. Students from across the country also participated in a skills competition.

The conference was rounded out by rousing keynotes by several inspirational figures and trailblazers, including Jared Isaacman, an accomplished aviator and civilian astronaut, who spoke with fellow civilian astronaut Dr. Sian Proctor about their historic journey into space. Attendees also heard from international tennis superstars and philanthropic champions Stefanie Graf and Andre Agassi, who discussed their humanitarian and educational efforts, many of which are supported by using business aircraft. Retired Col. Nicole Malachowski shared how she overcame hurdles and self-doubt to become the U.S. Air Force’s first female Thunderbird pilot. Daymond John, trailblazing business founder, investor and storied “Shark Tank” television personality, shared how he was able to overcome adversity through innovation to get where he is today.

During the three-day conference, we had the opportunity to connect with many other industry professionals, prospective partners, and future customers who will come to experience and understand the advantages of flying through KCPS to visit St. Louis. We enjoyed sharing our available properties with many interested individuals, while hearing their needs and preferences as customers and developers. Many former residents of the St. Louis region and our nearby Scott Air Force Base stopped by to connect and share their history and we enticed them to come back for a visit with a chance to win two Riverboat Cruise tickets and two tickets for a Gateway Helicopter Tour taking off from the only inland floating heliport in the United States.

If you’d like to connect with us directly for insight on how KCPS can be your discrete connection to all our region offers, visit or contact Sandra Shore at And if you’re planning to attend the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference in March, come visit us in the exhibit hall.