Published online Midwest Flyer Magazine – February/March 2021
The long-time president of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), Lawrence L. “Larry” Burian of Williamsburg, Va., passed away on December 23, 2020. He was 85.
From his first solo flight at age 14 in his Missouri hometown, Burian was on his path to becoming a pivotal leader of NATA. In 1976, he was named President of NATA during a time when the association’s membership had become fragmented and needed focus. Burian stepped in believing in the vital importance of the association and attracted leaders who understood general aviation businesses and were effective team builders. That year, NATA officially became known as the National Air Transportation Association and under his leadership, flourished and proved its efficacy by resolving a long conflict with the FAA over fuel prices and allocation controls.
In December 1976, NATA brokered a 5-cent-per gallon pass-through on retail fuel sales, allowing fixed base operators to recover some overhead costs – returning an estimated $70 million to the industry. By February 1979, federal price and allocation controls on aviation fuels were ended. Given this success, NATA reaffirmed its role as a formidable industry advocate among its members, Congress, federal agencies, and the broader aviation community. Larry Burian retired from NATA in 1994.