With next month’s election determining the USA’s presidency as well as political control of the House and Senate- expect to see polarized positions surface from both sides of the aisle. Be mindful of media overreach- but never lose sight of Business Aviation’s basic value- advises Jack Olcott
Reject Optics- Recognize Reality
Always remember Business Aviation’s basic value
With next month’s election determining the USA’s presidency as well as political control of the House and Senate- expect to see polarized positions surface from both sides of the aisle. Be mindful of media overreach- but never lose sight of Business Aviation’s basic value- advises Jack Olcott.
Corporate jets can’t seem to catch a break when politicians and media look for symbols of questionable behavior. For those who blame banks and other segments of the financial community as well as large corporations for what they perceive as unfair attitudes favoring the wealthy- company aircraft are easy targets.
Without an understanding of the positive role that Business Aviation plays in the success of an enterprise for owners and shareholders- the public is ready to see only royal barges carrying elites in luxury. Little do they know that business aircraft provide a level of efficient and effective transportation that is not available from any other mode of travel. Unfortunately- the lay media - particularly those with an agenda - are all too willing to capitalize on misconceptions.
But how can the public know the reality of Business Aviation when users of corporate aircraft are so reluctant to acknowledge their application? In the absence of material for good news stories- media are loathe to present a positive picture of business jets.
Companies know that many locations in new as well as in established markets simply are not served adequately- if at all- by the Airlines. To expand market penetration and to maintain satisfactory relations with existing customers- companies need the travel efficiency and scheduling flexibility provided by Business Aviation. This form of transportation makes good sense- and without including Business Aviation within a corporation’s travel policy- Directors are short-changing shareholders.
Yet too many companies are reluctant to discuss corporate jets- preferring instead to keep the issue (and their aircraft) out of sight. Denigrated by those who are unaware of Business Aviation’s value- and hidden by those who employ this important business tool- it is little wonder why corporate jets can’t seem to catch a break.
Perhaps the reluctance of highly visible public corporations to draw attention to their use of Business Aviation is understandable. They see no upside from such exposure. Companies can continue to employ their aircraft to meet their travel needs without being advocates. Or so they reason. But there are risks to being secretive or defensive about using corporate jets. The Car executives who failed to respond positively to Congressman Gary Ackerman’s question at the infamous House hearings on the auto bailout opened the door to the negative suppositions of those who think the worst about Business Aviation. In the absence of clear reasons why companies have aircraft the old stereotypes and misconceptions prevail.
Access to airspace for Business Aviation will be shaped by how this form of transportation is perceived by politicians- and political attitudes are influenced by the public perceptions. If business jets are considered superfluous and not instrumental to shareholder success- regulations and fees will be proposed that restrict their use.
Access can be restricted in three basic ways:
- By fiat—political decisions that limit use of certain airports and airways to Airlines only.
- By mandates—government requirements for special avionics and performance capabilities to use certain areas of the aviation infrastructure.
- By cost—higher fees that discourage use of Business Aviation.
With government (regardless of party affiliation) desperate for added revenue- pressure will mount to hit users of Business Aviation with added fees. In the absence of acceptance that business jets are effective business tools- all users are at risk of high costs and reduced operational flexibility.
In this political season of extremes- we urge moderation. Look for balance between hiding your company’s use of Business Aviation and giving your firm’s PR department apoplexy. Business aircraft are the sign of well-run companies—firms that appreciate the value of people and time.
Directors should be proud to establish policy that enables an efficient blend of Airlines and Business Aviation. Remember that the most successful public corporations—those that produce the greatest returns in dividends and capital gains for shareholders— are users of Business Aviation.
In the month or so that remains between your receipt of this October issue of World Aircraft Sales Magazine and the US presidential election- you will be besieged by an avalanche of messages. Separating reality from rhetoric will be challenging. Focus on the facts. Look beyond slogans. Probe deeply. And never lose sight of the unique value of Business Aviation.