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Business Aviation & The Boardroom - Optics

February 2012

Category: Business Aviation and the Boardroom

Author: Jack Olcott

Optics
By providing a unique form of transportation that is essential to economic development, Business Aviation presents a positive image. Our role is to help others see what we see, opines Jack Olcott
.

Throughout the USA over 11,000 companies own business aircraft and many thousands more employ Business Aviation through chartering or fractional ownership programs. Worldwide, the number of corporations operating their own jet or turboprop aircraft for business approaches 20,000, while charter adds significantly to the number of companies and entrepreneurs that utilize the flexibility and efficiency provided by this form of air transportation.

Thanks to excellent research and reporting by the No Plane No Gain team, a collaboration of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the National Business Aviation Association, the benefits of Business Aviation are well documented. Furthermore, those DC-based associations actively communicate with elected leaders in Congress and policymakers in federal and state governments, educating them regarding the role that Business Aviation plays in economic development and enhanced quality of life.

In Europe, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has a similar focus on communicating the attributes of Business Aviation to officials regionally, including the leaders within the European Union. During the previous decade, EBAA has established a productive dialogue with European institutions such as Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), educating bureaucrats as to how business aircraft provide access to economic opportunity and, therefore, are worthy of receiving fair and equitable access to airspace and airports. EBAA has been successful in elevating Business Aviation’s acceptance in Europe.

At the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Montreal, Canada that addresses matters affecting all aviation worldwide, Business Aviation is ably represented by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), an “association” of Business Aviation associations. While concentrating primarily on safety and technical matters affecting the operations of business aircraft, IBAC has significantly enhanced the stature of Business Aviation within the international community.

Thus it is both curious and disturbing that operators of business aircraft regard image as an obstacle to growth of the Business Aviation community. Too often we hear that operators are fearful that “optics” justify a low profile. Concern persists that the public as well as policy makers see business aircraft as something other than vital tools for the productive transport of company personnel.

CHEAP SHOT AT VITAL TOOLS
Surely politicians promoting a populist theme have taken cheap shots at the expense of Business Aviation, often using the words “corporate jets” in a pejorative fashion. They are quick to equate use of a business aircraft with corporate excess, when in fact a business aircraft is as essential for increased productivity as other forms of business transportation. For many business trips, the most cost-effective travel is via business aircraft.

Perhaps concern about optics is understandable, but it is not reasonable. When time is a factor—in business, rarely is time not a factor—a business aircraft is without peer. As a community, we need to speak out about the advantages of Business Aviation whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Nor is it appropriate that those who are involved with Business Aviation be fearful of “optics.” We should embrace the image of a business aircraft as being the sign of a well-managed company—one that appreciates the value of people and time. It is essential that users of Business Aviation approach the optics of Business Aviation differently.

Take a close look at how often politicians, quick to find fault with “Corporate Jets”, use them for conducting their own business (be that business towards the fulfillment of their duties as elected officials or their campaigning). President Obama, often equating “fat cat” with “corporate jets,” would be unable to do his job for the citizens of the USA without Air Force One. And his staff would be disadvantaged if they could not accompany him as he travels.

In this season of primaries, candidates often are present on the same day in states that are separated by hundreds of miles. They are able to do so because of Business Aviation. Either they charter an aircraft, borrow one from interested supporters [see Chris Younger’s article on transport of elected officials in this section] or lease a business jet for the duration of their campaign.

Users of Business Aviation as well as the professionals who are associated with this form of transportation know the value of a business aircraft. The companies that are the most favorable for stockholders to own—those that generate the greatest returns to shareholders in terms of capital gains and dividends—are users of business aircraft.

When viewed through an undistorted lens, Business Aviation looks great. We must diligently seek to communicate the advantages of Business Aviation, seizing every opportunity to shine a bright light on our community and its vital role in economic development.

Do you have any questions or opinions on the above topic? Get them answered/published in World Aircraft Sales Magazine. Email feedback to: Jack@avbuyer.com 

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