The Flight Department: A Cost or Profit Center?

Three key arguments to demonstrate the worth of your flight department

Andre Fodor  |  16th October 2015
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    Andre Fodor
    Andre Fodor

    With a focused approach on global excellence and creativity, Andre Fodor has managed flight operations...

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    Pilot Going Over Flight Plan with Corporate Passenger

    As a flight department manager, Andre Fodor is focused on keeping business aviation meaningful, purposeful and off the chopping block. What are the key arguments to be made, and how are they best highlighted to shareholders and executives of your company?

    It’s a fact that in adverse situations, the aviation department is often the first to go. Let’s be honest; self-preservation is in our DNA - we all have children to feed and bills to pay - and if we want to secure our jobs, we need to validate corporate aviation with strong arguments and powerful, easily understood reasoning.

    A well-managed flight department can be invaluable for the growth of companies, and provides quality of life to its busy executives. Over my 25 years’ working within the corporate flight business, I’ve honed some powerful arguments that I use, allowing meaningful discussions to lead to furthering my role in the company’s success.

    Of course I could provide metrics, statistics and colorful graphs that describe a myriad of substantiating data, but from experience I cannot overstate the importance of simple arguments and convincing talking points that are easily digested and impact a listener’s perceptions.

    All flight department managers/personnel need to use every opportunity to highlight the benefits of corporate aviation. I educate our staff and executives as to how airplanes bridge distances and maximize productivity by connecting locations and people while providing a moving work platform that facilitates linear productivity and a global presence. Our airplanes also increase the safety of our corporate leadership, and bring them ready and rested to the doorstep of new growth opportunities.

    But which arguments are the most effective? Let me share three powerful points that have helped me reach this goal.

    Argument One: Geography

    There’s a reason why the US has over 5,000 airports and an efficient railroad and highway network. Consider: without this infrastructure, we would not have given our central states a fair chance to reach national and global markets competitively and expeditiously.

    Consider our nation’s growth in light of its geography, and then compare with other developing nations. You’ll soon see the impact that this infrastructure’s had in our commercial and industrial growth.

    Now consider that there are more airports serving General Aviation than airlines, and we can provide tangible testimony that through General Aviation and our national airport infrastructure we open gateways to new financial and lifestyle opportunities. Now that’s tapping new potential!

    Argument Two: Time is Money

    Commercial airline travel has its benefits. After all, not everyone’s job description validates the need for a private airplane ride. But when you consider someone within the corporation possessing crucial skills to their company, or an individual whose function and time is crucial to the company, and factor the loss of productivity that airline travel imposes, you won’t need a spread sheet to make your point.

    It’s helpful if you describe the travel time to a major airport. Factor check-in time, too; long security lines; hub-and-spoke connections; potential for delays or cancellations; and the inability to conduct sensitive business away from prying ears and eyes.

    Anyone can relate to that picture!

    Isn’t the company’s bottom line better served if Business Aviation is utilized as an extension of the corporate office? Are commercial relationships strengthened when you can reach your business partners when they most need you, at the drop of a hat?

    Having the ability to reach New York for breakfast, Chicago for lunch and Miami for dinner – all while using the aircraft as an extension of the corporate office – would be impossible with commercial aviation.

    And you have a solid argument towards including private aircraft in the positive side of the balance sheet.

    Argument Three – Buying Time

    You may think that this and the last argument are one and the same. Far from it! Until now we’ve mostly focused on ‘company’ and ‘corporation’, in essence disembodying the private aircraft argument and polishing it up as a discussion about profitability and efficiencies. None of that here!

    Life is about people, and there’s no arguing that if your boss can fly in a business jet, it took them grit, time and hard work to get where they are today - and with it the realization that time is finite - and as such priceless. It can never be bought back.

    Choosing your own travel schedule, bypassing commercial flying hassles, flying direct and sharing more time with family and friends in an airplane acts as an extension of the home as well as office as a tangible way to add quality to life.

    This can be as close as you will get to adding more time.

    Everyone wants to live longer, have lasting and positive experiences and maximize time with their loved ones. To be more dynamic and efficient is an essence of modern life and increases its quality. Business Aviation raises that bar and provides value that counteracts its high cost.

    Well - there you have it; try some of my arguments, share some of yours below, and hail to the long life of the corporate flight department!

    What was your convincer for Business Aviation Investment?  Please share your story below via the Comments Box.

    Find more Flight Department articles.

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