loading Loading please wait....
Login

If you are a registered, please log in. If not, please click here to register.

Whole Aircraft Ownership (Part 1)

In this series on various means for delivering the benefits of Business Aviation- we have covered a myriad of ways to access business aircraft from traditional charter to fractional and shared ownership. None of those forms offers the freedom- customization- service levels- control and responsibility that whole aircraft ownership provides. Let’s touch on each of these attributes.

David Wyndham   |   1st October 2013
print
Back to articles
David Wyndham David Wyndham

As an Instructor Pilot in the U.S. Air Force- Dave's responsibilities included aircrew...
Read More

Whole Aircraft Ownership (Part 1)
If control over your company’s means of transportation is paramount- sole ownership of a business aircraft is particularly attractive- notes David Wyndham.

In this series on various means for delivering the benefits of Business Aviation- we have covered a myriad of ways to access business aircraft from traditional charter to fractional and shared ownership. None of those forms offers the freedom- customization- service levels- control and responsibility that whole aircraft ownership provides. Let’s touch on each of these attributes.

Freedom
With whole aircraft ownership your company has the freedom to select the best aircraft to satisfy its needs. You are not restricted to the offerings of the local commercial operator or other third-party providers. Nor do you need to compromise with another owner regarding the size or cost of the aircraft. Within safety and operating regulations- your aircraft can be operated as you require.

Customization
Do you prefer a bigger or smaller galley? Do you like club seating arrangements? Do you want seats that recline into small beds for long trips? Would you prefer a blue stripe and/or the company logo on the tail? When you acquire your own aircraft- the outfitting of the aircraft can be done to suit your operational and travel requirements. The larger the cabin size- the more flexibility there is in how the interior can be configured.

If you have a specific corporate color scheme- the interior can be made to match. In a visit to Dassault’s interior design shop- I saw a tool that literally will scan the color of your tie and then choose a fabric or paint color to match- if you so desire. Computer aided design can show you the look of your interior choices in day or night lighting- and let you see the change from glossy to matt-finish- or even the type of stitching on the seats.

Service Levels
Your aviation department personnel are your employees. Not only are you able to shape their training and manage their competence- you affect how they interface personally with passengers.

Do company travellers and their guests like a nice chat with crew members during the flight or would they rather be left in solace? Do they prefer a specific beverage or snack? The crew takes care of such personal likes and dislikes. Does a passenger want to sit up front for landing? Your jump seat awaits. This service level generates a rapport that is effortless and comforting.

Control
In the US- Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) allow the most flexibility and opportunity for control to not-for-hire operations flown on behalf of the aircraft owner. A company-owned aircraft that is used in support of the business of the company falls under these rules. While the FARs require that all aircraft must be operated safely- the sole owner of a business aircraft has greater influence over operations than either a charter customer or a fractional owner. It is important to note that factors influencing safety- and also security- are within the operator’s control.

You can hire the crewmembers that you prefer. Your aircraft is based at an appropriate airport convenient to your location. It is ready when you need it to be- and it will wait for you to return when your business meeting is running late. Your aircraft is only used by the people you authorize to fly on it. Thus- you have the highest levels of privacy and security. You can discuss sensitive business or leave important corporate documents and personal items on board the aircraft. If your company has a formal security program in place for senior leadership- it is easy to incorporate the aircraft into that security plan.

Responsibility
With this high degree of control over the outfitting and operation comes an equally high level of responsibility. While the FARs state that the pilot in command is the ultimate person responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft- you are responsible for the hiring and training of that pilot. You have liability for the actions of your employees- and this responsibility extends to the aircraft operation.

Managing this risk involves both training and insurance. The crew should be trained to the highest appropriate levels of competence. For a turbine aircraft- this means formal simulator training for the pilots no less than annually (preferably semi-annually)- with refresher courses offered throughout the year. If you have maintenance engineers- they also require regular training. If you own or lease your own hangar- ground safety is your responsibility. You can share the risk by properly insuring the aircraft and crew. The higher the level of competence and maintenance- the lower the rate the insurance company will charge.

Your company has options regarding the detailed operation of your aviation activities- which obviously require individuals versed in management and Business Aviation. This skill set is commonly accomplished by either having an in-house aviation manager or director- or by contracting the management of the aviation operation to a management company.

Next month- we will consider the pros and cons of internal management of your firm’s activities in Business Aviation as opposed to hiring an aviation management company to operate your wholly-owned company aircraft.

 

Related Articles

linkedin Print

Other Articles