A beginner’s guide to NBAA BACE in Las Vegas


Viva Las Vegas. The city where people go to win. In business aviation terms that means attending National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) Las Vegas Business Aviation Convention and Annual Expo (BACE) rather than gambling on the Strip. The idea is to lose business cards rather than chips. Many people do both.

No matter how bad the market, the atmosphere at the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) Las Vegas Business Aviation Convention and Annual Expo (BACE) is always very different to when the show is in Orlando. You can guess why.

Las Vegas is not everyone’s favourite place to visit but it lends itself well to trade shows. There are lots of hotels so you do not end up with a shortage like you can at EBACE in Geneva – you will get a room no matter how late you book. And because most of the high-end hotels are close together it is easy to attend more than one party each night (this is harder in Orlando).

With lots of parties and late nights, attending BACE in Las Vegas can be tiring. You will also walk a lot. Fitbit wearers regularly break 20,000 steps a day. The exhibition is split across two halls – North Hall and Central Hall – with more than 1,100 exhibitors. Walking across them can easily take 30 minutes. More if you stop and talk. Comfortable shoes are a must.

Bustling scenes inside the Las Vegas Convention Center on the first day of NBAA 2013.

Where are the aircraft?

Because it is so big, most of the aircraft that are on display are parked at Henderson Executive Airport. The static display is about 35 minutes away by coach. It runs regularly from both halls.

Generally, people who sell aircraft – manufacturers, brokers and others – stay at the static for at least the Tuesday and Wednesday. Senior managers at manufacturers often flit between both. Suppliers are normally in the halls as are engine manufacturers and customer support people at aircraft manufacturers are usually in the exhibition halls. These rules will not of course apply to your meeting, so make sure you check where you are meeting them. It is frustrating when you suddenly realise that your contact is at the static when you are at their stand.

The coach is pleasant (air conditioned and free wifi) but takes time. You ideally want to block out one morning or afternoon in each place. Many people choose to visit the static during afternoons as OEMs often have cocktail parties then. If you do attend a cocktail party make sure you check the time of the last bus as it can be hard to get a taxi back.

What to wear

NBAA specifies business attire. This can mean anything from a suit to polo shirts (often branded). You will spot a few cowboy boots and hats. No one will listen to this, but flat shoes are recommended. You are not allowed to bring pets (which is a real shame).

Where should I stay?
The Las Vegas Convention Centre is easily accessible from all of the hotels on the strip. There are free buses from many of the hotels and the Monorail. It is usually pretty easy to get a taxi to and from the show.

What do you call it?

The association is keen to brand it as BACE – similar to EBACE (Europe) and ABACE (China). But most attendees still call it NBAA.

What do you do if you cannot make it?

We will be covering all of the main news!

Where do I go in the evening?

It is Las Vegas so there is no shortage of places. The Wynn hotel and Encore at Wynn host a lot of parties including the highly regarded Fund an Angel Cocktail Reception on Wednesday night to raise funds for Corporate Angel Network (CAN) and the critical work they do to support cancer patients.

NBAA attendees also qualify for discounted Cirque du Soleil tickets.

I am flying out early one day, how long should I allow from the Convention Centre to McCann Airport?

It takes less than 30 minutes in a cab – 10 minutes if you are lucky. There is also a bag drop at the convention centre from 8am to 6pm so you do not need to drag your suitcase around. There is not bag drop at the static.

When does it open?

Tuesday October 10
Halls: 10am-6pm
Static: 9am-6pm

Wednesday October 11
Halls: 9am-5pm
Static: 9am-5pm

Thursday October 12
Halls: 9am-4pm
Static: 9am-3pm

What else should I do?

As well as networking, you should also check out the education sessions


Download the excellent event app (it deserves a higher rating) and remember: “You need to know when to walk away. Know when to run.”