You’re aboard your aircraft, toasting your new acquisition with a fine Bordeaux, when suddenly, you hit turbulence. Your gorgeous white leather seats are sprayed with red. Or your new client eagerly signs on the dotted line, with a fountain pen that leaks at altitude, right onto the armrest.
Aircraft owners and executives directly contribute to aviation risks. They do it day-to-day, flight-by-flight. They do it actively, passively, overtly, and through neglect. As a result, the quality of business aviation safety has no correlation to the size or quality of the company or family office. It directly correlates to safety leadership. And that starts at the top.
You’ve convinced your business partner that your business deserves its own aircraft. You agree that if you can manage it financially, you’d prefer not to make the aircraft available for third party charter, although you want to leave open that possibility.
Years ago, a company aircraft was used primarily by the chief executive and a few senior people. Today, business aircraft operate more as middle management transportation vehicles, increasing corporate efficiency by reaching airports not served by the airlines – but that’s just what’s visible.
After nearly eight years of market downturn, business aircraft activity – particularly in the light, mid-range market– appears to be on the rise, while the long-range, mid-sized to heavy jet market remains stagnant, due largely to the glut of good quality used aircraft.
As you shop for an aircraft, one of the many decisions you will make is how you will operate it. Will you create your own flight department, or hire an outside management company? The decision will be influenced by whether or not you want your aircraft exclusively for your own use, governed in the U.S. by Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 91; or to be available for outside charter and operated under FAR Part 135, either to generate outside revenue to offset the cost of your own flying, for tax reasons, or both.