In an industry that's facing the most turbulent times since September 11, 2001, the National Business Travel Association is taking a strong leadership role with this year's annual convention, being held through Wednesday in Los Angeles. At press time, the meeting had attracted 6,150 attendees, including 470 exhibitors, a record for the association.

Front of mind for everyone is the state of the airline industry, and a panel of airline execs, including Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, and Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways, will tackle that subject. (The sessions will then be made available at the NBTA Web site). NBTA's Aviation Committee has also unveiled a totally re-created Airline Request for Proposal that it hopes will become the standard used by corporate travel managers from businesses of all sizes. Companies can customize the RFP for their needs and for both U.S. and international travel. With the upsurge in Registered Traveler activity, both FLO and Clear, the two major players, have a dominant presence at the show.

In other news, NBTA's Groups and Meetings Committee turned its leadership over to Lee Ann Adams Mikeman, assistant vice president of conference planning and special events for Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., who will continue to move that committee forward in its work providing companies with the resources they need to develop strategic meetings management programs. The committee is holding several sessions at the show where attendees can benchmark their efforts against those of other companies.--Barbara Scofidio