In 1940, facing restrictions that potentially could have halted all GA flights due to the war, William Ong and Les Bowman, along with several leaders of private flight, met to form the National Air Transportation Association. That organization effectively assured that this segment of aviation was not grounded.
It appears that NATA may be the 4th oldest aviation trade association (AIA, 1919, A4A,1936, AOPA,1939, others?). On its 75th birthday the group is 2,300 members strong with businesses throughout the United States.
Trade associations provide leverage for their segment of their industry. NATA fulfills its mission by advocating policy issues on behalf of its members (airline services, air charter, aircraft maintenance, airport support and flight training) on the Hill as well as federal, state and local government agencies. By combining all of that “lobbying” work, NATA exceeds the resources of individual companies or sectors to impact important policies. It enhances its value by providing a number of commercial services (like insurance) at a lower price.
NATA’s leader since 2012, Tom Hendricks, has done an excellent job in attracting great staff and tightening the association’s management. In particular, he led the development and introduction of the highly renowned Safety 1st Program. Most importantly, NATA is a tremendous source of safety information.
HAPPY 75th NATA; it’s great for aviation to have your organization as a resource.