Citing challenging financial times and travel restrictions, state aviation officials elected to cancel the NASAO 2011 Washington Legislative Conference held annually in the nation’s capital.
For decades the National Association of State Aviation Officials has convened in Washington D.C. about the same time apple blossoms appear each year, to focus on agendas heavily laden with aviation legislation topics and to spend some face time with senate and house staffers involved with transportation as well as their elected bosses.
This conference also typically included meetings with senior DOT, FAA and other key government officials whose address lies within the Beltway.
"NASAO is a strong organization providing very valuable services to our membership," said Randy Burdette,
current Chairman of NASAO and Director for the Virginia Department of Aviation. "During these challenging times, NASAO has to review how we can best serve our members. Rather than suffer low attendance and a financial loss for the conference, NASAO decided to look for ways to use those funds to improve communications and better serve our membership."
In a memo to its members NASAO indicated that a majority of state aviation officials indicated that current state travel restrictions made it impossible or unlikely for them to participate in the conference. NASAO staff is currently looking into webinar and other electronic options as a means to fill the gap this year. According to NASAO, the decision hasn’t changed plans for NASAO’s 80th anniversary celebration during the Annual Convention and Tradeshow in Nashville, Tennessee September 11-13, 2011.
Several state aviation officials told the State Aviation Journal that although the Washington conference allows NASAO to be recognize as a serious stakeholder for government programs and platforms, during “economic adjustment” periods facing state aviation organizations, it is prudent for the organization to cancel.