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An Ordinary Travel Option
In this era of globalization and internet technology- companies are wise to use all available means for communicating with customers. When considering ways to nurture markets and expand opportunities- Boards should consider innovative applications of Business Aviation as a valuable option- advises Jack Olcott.

Today’s tools for connecting with business affiliates- customers and prospects are expansive and truly impressive. Cell phones provide ubiquitous access. The Internet spans the globe- providing a means to reach existing as well as new markets. Applications that began as novelties for social networking are becoming key elements within marketing programs. When all the marvels of IT have been applied- however- one fact remains—nothing will replace face-to-face.

A cartoon that surfaced at least a decade ago captured the importance of meeting in person- especially when so much information flows through cyberspace. It featured two canines huddled around a computer- one saying to the other- “What I love about the internet is that no one can tell you are a dog.”

Long-term success in business relies on a trust relationship between all parties- and rarely is it possible to achieve such trust without some level of personal interaction. Neither high speed internet nor smartphones have changed that dynamic. Quite to the contrary- the miracles of modern communications have quickened the pace of business- thereby accelerating the need to interact promptly and efficiently when an opportunity surfaces- and compressing the time individuals are willing to allot for such interpersonal tasks.

Developing successful programs requires people dealing with people and taking stock of relevant counterparties- promptly and efficiently. Thus there exists a great need to meet face-to-face - whether seated across a conference table- meeting in the privacy of the client’s office or over a shared meal.

The benefits of personal interaction are a significant driver behind the fact that each day about 1.7 million airline passengers board over 28-000 flights in the USA. The role that transportation plays in facilitating trust (and thus commerce) is pervasive. The vast majority of those 1.7 million airline passengers enplane at less than 35 hub airports. Yet business requires access to the entire nation- not simply the large population centers. Business Aviation provides access to the many opportunities that originate in locations not well served by scheduled airlines. Without business aircraft- the ebb and flow of commerce would be curtailed.

To regard Business Aviation as something other than a means of transportation is failing to understand its role as a business tool. Yes- business aircraft provide a unique level of transport—one that is- in essence- an office that moves; yes- they save time and enable travel time to be used productively; and yes- being able to access a business aircraft has a certain cache - but the highest and best use of a business aircraft is moving the right person to the right place promptly- for maximum business effectiveness.

Board policy regarding access to Business Aviation should be based upon business opportunities- not job title or corporate hierarchy. The enlightened Board establishes transportation policy that recognizes a business aircraft provides transport to locations that the airlines either do not serve at all or cannot serve with sufficient frequency to satisfy the needs of their company.

When time is of the essence- nothing replaces the immediacy of Business Aviation. When a customer’s production line is down due to an unexpected problem- getting the appropriate technician to the site in minimum time is a particularly appropriate use of Business Aviation. Using business aircraft to transport marketing or development Teams is highly beneficial- always saving time and often reducing travel expenses. Limiting access to the company aircraft to only a few corporate executives is failing to allocate shareholder resources effectively.

The enlightened Board regards Business Aviation in much the same way it approaches other infrastructure elements of the enterprise it governs. Just as the cost of essential services- such as legal- accounting and plant maintenance are allocated across the entire corporation- so should at least some portion of costs associated with owning a business aircraft.

Do you have any questions or opinions on the above topic? Get them answered/published in World Aircraft Sales Magazine. Email feedback to: Jack@avbuyer.com

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