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Virtues of Control

Management styles differ, but individuals responsible for company performance seek to minimise uncertainty. Business Aviation can help...

Jack Olcott   |   1st June 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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The Ways in which Business Aviation Delivers
Management styles may differ- but individuals responsible for company performance seek to minimize uncertainty whenever possible. Managing the time/place dynamic is essential for business success- asserts Jack Olcott.

The founder of a well-established aviation management company often asked his customers what they valued most about using business aircraft. Not surprisingly- their answers were similar: they embraced Business Aviation’s unique ability to provide greater control over the most disturbing aspect of public transportation- including unsatisfactory travel times- inconsistent service quality and a degree of discomfort that passengers attributed to being dependent on parties unknown.

With access to a business aircraft- the traveller has far greater selection of departure and destination points than are offered by the Scheduled Airlines. The USA is home to 19-700 airports. Nearly three-quarters of that total are small strips licensed strictly for private use. Of the 5-170 airports that are available to the public- only 503 offer Scheduled Airline service that enplanes more than 2-500 passengers annually.

Most of the enplaned passengers depart from about 10 percent of the commercial service airports used by the airlines. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 83 percent of the 692 million Airline passengers who flew in 2012 boarded at just 50 commercial service airports. The remaining 453 airports served by scheduled air carriers often lacked a frequency of service that accommodated out-and-back trips on the same day- thereby necessitating overnight stays.

In addition to concentrating service at fewer than 50 locations- the Scheduled Airlines adopted a business model called “capacity discipline” that systematically reduced their departures by nearly 9.0 percent at major hubs and by over 20 percent at second and third tier hubs between 2007 and 2012 in order to increase passenger load factors.

It is difficult to book a flight for the pop-up business trip- and pity the traveler who must make a schedule adjustment due to a meeting that runs longer than anticipated- or switch aircraft due to a flight cancellation.

Peace of Mind
Our nation’s Airline system is safe and secure. Turbine-powered business aircraft flown by two-person salaried crew also have achieved a safety record that equals and at times exceeds the reassuring performance of scheduled air carriers. Yet there is a comfort level associated with knowing who is piloting and maintaining the company aircraft.

For the individual who chooses to exercise maximum control over their travel- nothing matches Business Aviation. In fact- no other form of transportation provides the passenger with more security than flying on a business aircraft. All factors that influence safety—maintenance of the aircraft- pilot preparedness- operational decisions- etc.—are within the purview of the company’s flight department. Such is not the case when venturing out in your automobile or when using public transportation.

When in an automobile- safety depends on how well other drivers behave as much as it relies on your skill or that of your driver. Unlike driving- where a properly operated auto can be involved in a multi-car collision regardless of the driver’s caution or reflexes- rarely do two aircraft collide in flight. The very few mid-air collisions that occur (about a dozen or so per year) typically are between privately flown light aircraft operating from uncontrolled airports- and in roughly 50 percent of such incidents both aircraft land safety.

In large part because most business jets fly primarily under conditions of positive air traffic control and many are equipped with traffic collision warning and avoidance systems- mid-air collisions between turbine-powered business aircraft are indeed very rare.

The assumption that your airline crew is proficient and non-conflicted is valid. Still- knowing the qualifications- training and presumably the lifestyle of the aviators who pilot the company aircraft is comforting- especially for the Type A personalities often found among entrepreneurs and business leaders. Although the wise executive trusts his or her aviation personnel and chooses not to interfere- Business Aviation does provide a degree of control and thus peace of mind not found in other forms of transportation.

Andy Grove- formerly Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation- entitled one of his books on management Only the Paranoid Survive. While he may not have been referring to what should or should not be discussed on an airliner- or easily seen by the stranger in the next seat- many companies prohibit personnel from reading or discussing proprietary documents in public places.

Without the certainty that company information will be seen only by trusted individuals- executives elect to avoid undue risks. Few places are more secure and free from the potential of industrial espionage than a business aircraft. The virtues of Business Aviation are many- including control over issues that are important to the business traveller.

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