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Understanding & Using Business Aviation

Maximise the benefits from business aircraft. Seek the counsel of experts experienced with these sophisticated tools, urges Jack Olcott.

Jack Olcott   |   1st July 2014
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Jack Olcott Jack Olcott

Possibly the world’s most recognized advocate, if not expert on the value of Business Aviation,...
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 A Unique Form of Transportation

To obtain the fullest benefits from business aircraft- companies should seek the counsel of experts who are experienced with these sophisticated business tools- advises Jack Olcott.

The importance of Business Aviation is reflected in the infrastructure and intellectual property associated with utilizing business aircraft safely- efficiently and productively. Major manufacturers have invested heavily in personnel and facilities required to design- manufacture- market and support aircraft that serve companies and entrepreneurs seeking access to emerging - as well as established - markets.

Companies large and small- public and private have embraced Business Aviation by establishing flight departments- contracting with management firms to operate their corporate jet- or employing charter aircraft to reach destinations that the Scheduled Airlines either serve infrequently or not at all. Today’s Business Aviation is a necessary (albeit unofficial) partner with the major air carriers in addressing the travel needs of business men and women.

Consequently- the environment encompassing the successful acquisition- use and sale of business aircraft involves many sophisticated disciplines ranging from finance- equipment selection- personnel- operating regulations and procedures- management practices and oversight.

A Reflection of Sophistication
Jet Aviation- a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate giant General Dynamics- is an example of the sophisticated nature of Business Aviation. It manages or oversees the operation of nearly 250 business aircraft located throughout the globe- operating the world’s largest fleet of Bombardier Global Express aircraft- and its total fleet includes nearly every business jet currently flying. In addition to aircraft operations- the company has maintenance facilities as well as centers for completing the specialized interiors of business aircraft. Jet Aviation’s operation as well as its reputation is global- and well respected.

Even with such impressive credentials- which are well known throughout the community- each client that approaches Jet Aviation typically is accompanied by an aviation consultant. The consultant’s presence rarely- if ever- is because the prospective client questions the qualifications of Jet Aviation. Rather- the nature of Business Aviation is careful attention to detail and constant due diligence.

Companies seeking the benefits of Business Aviation appreciate that the transaction to acquire and use an aircraft is a specialized process that ultimately relates to how the aircraft will be operated. Furthermore- the value to be obtained from using business aircraft is uniquely connected with how safely- efficiently and productively the company’s aviation assets are employed.

Thus- most companies acquiring a business aircraft seek the advice and counsel of experts with a proven track record as soon as the company considers whether or not to use Business Aviation. Experts who assist with aircraft selection and related services- such as locating specialists in financing and other transactional aspects- typically are retained throughout the life of the ownership experience- including the owner’s selection of management or operating services such as Jet Aviation provides- or when the aircraft purchaser establishes its own flight department.

Employing experts with specialized knowledge of Business Aviation is simply wise when overseeing the use of business aircraft.

Closer Look
The early history of Business Aviation is replete with tales of aviation enthusiasts “selling” the idea of an aircraft to the company owner or the Board. My first employment in Business Aviation many years ago was with a management company owned by a man who sold the idea of using business aircraft to a public corporation that was managed- in part- by the person who played halfback on the same college team where my boss was the quarterback. The relationship between two college chums and teammates grew into a flight department that flew a Twin Beech and DC-3 aircraft.

Fortunately for the corporation- the owner of the management firm was a conscientious businessman who hired good maintenance and flight personnel. Also- back then aviation was less sophisticated and in some ways much simpler.

The corporation’s flight department was eventually integrated into the overall management structure of the firm- transitioned to turbine aircraft- and now operates several long-range business jets throughout the world. Today- such a transition from an enthusiast’s idea to a multi-aircraft fleet operating globally is unlikely.

Business Aviation is unique. Its benefits will facilitate success for those companies that understand how to employ business aircraft. But acquiring the capabilities of business aircraft requires significant funds- specialized knowledge and careful attention to detail. There is little room for error- especially when the productivity and wellbeing of a company’s most important asset— its employees—is concerned. Engaging a knowledgeable consultant is a recommended investment.

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