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Do you know your mission needs well enough? You don't have to be an automaker or a Wall Street Baron to know the current wrath of the general public over business aircraft. Part of it is perception and part of it is the lack of justification from these businesses for having those aircraft. ‘No Plane. No Gain’ is back and huge kudos for Cessna on its new ad campaign. That may help with the perception of the general public. What about in your own company or organization?

Today- I'll offer a few tips to help you avoid the Big PR Problem.

We do a lot of work with companies- government agencies- and individuals over what type of aircraft to have and how much they cost to own and operate. A rational- well thought-out aircraft justification is no longer an option- but a necessity. Doing the analysis and having the decision makers sign off on such a justification can go great lengths to assuaging the share holders and others that the business aircraft is what it is: an essential business tool.

Do you know what your mission is? I don't mean just the general 'safe and efficient transportation' statement- but something the aircraft enables you or your company to do that directly ties into the mission statement of your firm. For example- General Electric has four strategic principles:

1. Build leadership businesses;
2. Focus on reliable execution and financial discipline;
3. Drive growth as a process;
4. Spread ideas across great people and teams that share common values.

So how could an aircraft help in achieving each of those principles?

• A business aircraft enables management to manage any number of far flung locations by showing their presence on a routine basis.
• The aircraft quickly gets people together enabling them to execute plans with speed and precision as they adapt to rapidly changing environments.
• The aircraft supports fostering growth and innovation by allowing management to spread ideas in face to face meetings across the globe. The above points are pretty broad- but they start the process.

Does your aircraft enable the accomplishment of the corporate mission- or hinder it? Does your aircraft have the capability to get into those shorter runways near the plant? Does it carry the number of people that make up your marketing- sales- or crisis management team?

Along with those questions- ask yourself: Did you analyze all of the transportation tools available such as whole aircraft- shared ownership- fractional ownership and charter in order to present a cost effective solution to accomplishing your mission?

When considering your business aircraft- you need to consider whether you need more capability? Do you have enough capacity- or too much? What about the strategic vision of your company - where is the focus and how can the business aircraft effectively empower your company to make the maximum use of the people who need to make the future happen?

Essentially- we’ve outlined above the big questions that lead to the more detailed questions- and those more detailed questions lead to the answer that screams- 'Yes- our aircraft is an essential business tool- without which our company would be at competitive disadvantage in today's rapidly changing economic environment!'

Admittedly there are companies that have aircraft because the boss likes to fly. However- even in those situations there should be some level of justification to support the aircraft. If there is not- then with the inevitable change of leadership- someone will ask the question; 'Why do we have those aircraft?'

There needs to be an answer…

David Wyndham is an owner of Conklin & de Decker. The mission of Conklin & de Decker is to furnish the general aviation industry with objective and impartial information in the form of professionally developed and supported products and services- enabling its clients to make more informed decisions when dealing with the purchase and operation of aircraft. With over 1-800 clients in 90 countries around the world- Conklin & de Decker combines aviation experience with proven business practices.

More information from www.conklindd.com; Tel: +1 508 255 5975

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