Business aviation is defined as the use of a general aviation airplane for a business purpose.
It is essential to tens of thousands of companies of all types and sizes in the U.S. that are trying to compete in a marketplace that demands speed, flexibility, efficiency and productivity. The vast majority of these companies – 85% – are small and mid-size businesses, many of which are based in the dozens of markets across the country where the airlines have reduced or eliminated service.
A company’s decision to utilize business aviation for any mission depends on a variety of factors, including availability of commercial service in the departing or arrival destinations, the number of sites to be visited in a single day, the number of employees traveling, the need to discuss proprietary matters en route, the need to move specialized equipment and a host of other considerations.
The following list details some of the primary reasons companies utilize business aviation as a solution to some of their transportation challenges.
1 Accessing Communities With Little or No Airline Service: Business aviation serves ten times the number of communities (more than 5,000 airports) served by commercial airlines (about 500 airports) This means business aviation can allow companies to locate plants or facilities in small towns or rural communities with little or no commercial airline service. Since nearly 100 communities have lost airline service in the past year, this is important.
2 Reaching Multiple Destinations Quickly and Efficiently: Companies that need to reach multiple destinations in a single day may elect to use business aviation, because that type of mission could be hard or impossible to complete with other modes of transportation.
3 Supporting the Travel Needs of Many Types of Company Employees: An NBAA survey revealed that 72% of passengers aboard business airplanes are non-executive employees. Companies often send teams of employees to a given destination because it is the most cost-effective means of transport.
4 Moving Equipment: When companies need to immediately move sensitive or critical equipment, business aviation is often the best solution.
5 Ensuring Flexibility: Business people don’t always know in advance where or when opportunities will present themselves. In today’s business environment, companies need to be nimble enough to move quickly. Business aviation provides flexibility for companies that need to ensure employees can respond to changing demands and circumstances.
6 Increasing Employee Productivity & Providing Security: Business aviation is a productivity tool – when traveling aboard business aircraft, employees can meet, plan and work en route. Business aviation also allows employees to discuss proprietary information in a secure environment without fear of eavesdropping, industrial espionage or physical threat.
7 Keeping In Contact: Many aircraft have technologies that allow employees to remain in communication throughout the duration of their flight. This can be critical for companies managing a rapidly changing situation.
8 Providing a Return to Shareholders: Studies have found that businesses which use business aviation as a solution to some of their transportation challenges return more to shareholders than companies in the same industry that do not utilize business aviation.
9 Schedule Predictability: More than 3% of all commercial airline flights are cancelled, and nearly one quarter are delayed. Due to record load factors on commercial airlines, if your flight is cancelled or a delay causes you to miss your connection, the odds of you getting on the next flight are significantly reduced. When the future of a company and its employees is dependent upon you arriving on time, business aviation is an important tool.
Business Aviation: A Critical Part of Success for Companies Across America
Aren’t business aircraft used mostly by major corporations?
No, the vast majority of companies using business aviation–85%–are small and mid-size businesses and other entities, including nonprofit organizations. For every Fortune 500 company that relies on business aviation, there are several small businesses that also need their airplane. Most companies use just one business airplane, which typically seats six passengers and flies relatively short stage lengths, mostly using small community airports.
Aren’t the planes used just for CEO transportation?
While each company has its own policies for use of business aircraft, an NBAA survey revealed that 86% of passengers aboard business airplanes are mid-level people, including salespeople, engineers, or other employees. Many companies have a first-come-first-served policy for use of the aircraft.
Why would a company ever require an executive to fly exclusively on a company airplane?
Some companies want their top people to be in constant communication with the home office. Security is also often a consideration, especially for companies with a high public profile; business aircraft allow employees to discuss proprietary information in a secure environment and without fear of eavesdropping. And companies want to ensure that executives are able to maintain flexible and nimble schedules, with reliable transportation access to all the places they may need to reach on a moment’s notice.
Do companies just use these planes to avoid the hassles of airline travel?
Companies that have their own airplane often use the airlines. A survey conducted by NBAA several years ago revealed that the Association’s Member companies spend $11 billion annually on travel with the airlines. NBAA makes available software called “Travel$ense,” which helps businesses determine the best transportation option for a given mission.
What are the kinds of trips where business aviation makes more sense than a commercial flight?
Some examples might include trips that involve destinations with little or no airline
service; missions that involve multiple stops in a single day; delivering people or parts in real time (for example, flying emergency equipment to a broken assembly line or providing a flight for employees who need to discuss proprietary information).
What should shareholders know about companies that have an airplane?
Companies that have an airplane return more to their shareholders than their competitors without aircraft. Studies show business use of general aviation adds value to a company’s bottom line. Businesspeople can make a trip involving stops at several locations, then return to headquarters the same day, saving time and travel expenses that would be needed to make the same trip over several days via auto, train or airline transport. Business aviation is a productivity tool – when traveling aboard business aircraft, employees can meet, plan and work with each other.
Source: National Business Aviation Association