NBAA2012: 7 Tips for Bizjet Operators Flying in for the Show


This is a post by guest author Kim Showalter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Showalter Flying Service. Kim was asked to contribute to this blog because of her expertise in business aviation operations at KORL. Showalter Flying Service has provided ground handling services in the Orlando, FL area since 1945 and is the host of this year’s NBAA Static Display of aircraft. Any thoughts expressed below are entirely Kim’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.

This year’s NBAA2012 takes place 30 October – 1 November in Orlando, Florida. Not only is this the annual flagship event for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), but it’s also the world’s largest event dedicated to business aviation.

Flying into the Orlando area for NBAA2012, even for business jet operators with short-notice lead times, should be an easy and trouble-free process this year. Traffic volumes will definitely be higher than normal, but there is no need to reserve aircraft parking or make fueling arrangements in advance. Placing your jet fuel order upon arrival will speed your departure, especially on Thursday afternoon as the NBAA2012 Static Display breaks down.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan on flying into the Orlando area for this important business aviation event:

1. Orlando (KORL) is closest airport to NBAA2012

KORL is the preferred airport for this event. As in the past, the FAA will be giving general aviation (GA) traffic in the area priority during this event. While there may be a misconception that there might not be space for transient GA parking due to the static display activity at KORL, this is not the case. Airport operations will not close due to the static display, and no AROs or airport slots are required at KORL. There will be no special requirements needed to operate to KORL during NBAA period, but small aircraft will be restricted from touch and goes during the event.

KORL is located in the center of Orlando, with access to highways, and drive time to the convention center is 20 – 30 minutes, depending upon traffic and time of day. Additional NBAA2012 airport options include Orlando Intl (KMCO), the commercial airport, and Kissimmee (KISM).

2. Customs clearance at KORL is available 24 hours with prior arrangement

KORL will be on an as needed basis Airport of Entry (AOE) during the NBAA event. Normal customs hours at KORL are Monday-Friday, 0830-1700 local, but during the event, customs will be available 24 hours with prior arrangements. A minimum of 24 hours’ notification is recommended, and depending on point of origination and number of passengers, clearance can take as little as 15 – 20 minutes. KORL’s customs facility has its own ramp, and the tower will provide directions when a crew informs them that customs clearance is required. Customs, along with airport operations, will take care of international trash disposal at KORL.

3. Aircraft parking will not be a problem, but plan ahead for other services

It is not necessary to reserve aircraft parking in advance as there’s plenty of parking availability at KORL. You may park your aircraft for as long as you wish with no advance permission required. It’s recommended to schedule aircraft services, such as detailing, in advance and, in particular, to confirm hotel accommodations and ground transport as early as possible. Hotel accommodations need to be confirmed ASAP as options will be limited for short-notice bookings. Your FBO may be able to offer better room rates due to relationships with local hotels. Your FBO will also be able to arrange transportation (car and driver) for you, and taxis will be available at the airport.

4. Fueling your aircraft on arrival is recommended

While your FBO will be able to arrange fuel uplifts at any time, it’s recommended to fuel on arrival as this will make departure faster. When the static display closes on the last day of the convention, there may be delays with services, including fuel uplifts. FBOs accept aviation fuel cards, fuel releases, and credit cards. All support services, including in-flight catering, lavatory and water services, can be arranged on credit.

5. There are some best practice tips to be aware of

In-flight catering should be requested on arrival, if possible. A minimum of three hours is needed to secure in-flight catering. It’s recommended to advise your FBO on arrival of your scheduled departure time, along with aircraft service requirements. This will allow your FBO to position your aircraft for an expedited departure and to efficiently coordinate all required services. Crew members need not be present for fueling. On departure, passengers should go to the FBO, and they’ll be transported to the aircraft.

6. Know day of departure procedures

On departure, you’ll receive clearance from ground control. When you reach the taxiway, you’ll be given clearance to transfer to the tower. Be aware that KORL will be very busy the afternoon of the last day of NBAA2012; delays may be experienced on departure and may utilize the “Line Up and Wait” procedure.

7. Consider local area amenities and attractions

For crews and passengers with free time during Orlando layovers consider a drive to the Kennedy Space Center or the beach, both about 50 minutes from Orlando. There are also great restaurants, golf courses, and downtown nightlife options available in the area. And, of course, there’s always Walt Disney World and Universal Studios to take in during a layover. Expect extra traffic at the parks for Halloween celebrations!


We expect aircraft related services to go smoothly during NBAA 2012 in Orlando. You will not have aircraft parking issues at any of the three Orlando area airports, and operations should be business as usual. It’s important, however, to pre-plan hotel accommodations and to work with your FBO to orchestrate a no-delay departure on the busier-than-usual last day of NBAA. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!


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