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As with any of the long-term planning a company has to do to stay out ahead of its competition and stay profitable well into the future- finding a long-term travel solution is dependent on well thought-out ideas and analysis- thereby avoiding any confusion between tactical and strategic planning.

Let’s imagine that a Board of Directors for a company that serves a regional marketplace is at the start of the process of flight department development. Clearly during the initial phase of the idea of building a flight department- the thought of overbuying an aircraft that falls way outside of the established Mission Profile could be labeled as “audacious thinking!” Thus- by using good counsel and current and nearterm utilization models to determine the best aircraft or Business Aviation solution to meet the needs of that moment- the directors may have determined that the acquisition of a turboprop would fulfill those regional travel needs.

So when would be a good time for the Directors to dust off the profile work and re-analyze their travel needs? When is it too early to not be labeled a distraction as opposed to a plan? I believe that the time is right the moment the winds of utilization start to shift- based on a clear discussion of change in the overall company business model or marketplace expansion.

The good news is that the flight department does not lead the discussion. It is not a speculative discussion based on audacious thinking; it is a strategic discussion by nature and falls within the overall scope of corporate planning for product and market place expansion.

Remember: the original goal of the flight department- even in its regional reach- was to get out ahead of competition- to be in front of the client and provide the finest in face-to-face service. This priority will not change. What will change is the distance required to fly to perform and meet these goals. So as a company starts to develop its product or service reach and then builds overall budgets to help analyze the decision to expand the flight department- work should begin. After all- a large part of the budget process will include moving the people around these new regions.

BACK TO BASICS
This may be the first time the company has developed a product or provided a service offering that is international in reach. With new markets emerging- the distances may not be simply across a land border to be international - it could be halfway across the world.

Many companies we are dealing with are now expanding into China or other parts of Asia- and as such- these destinations provide myriad challenges and cultural adaptations.

The flight department will also be faced with many operational changes and challenges. Although just like the corporate analysis that will take place with respect to SWAT analysis or budget-crunching- the flight department will also create these same evaluation tools.

The department will be asked by the Directors to go back to the basics; to take the new city pairs and frequencies and create a new Mission Profile plan thereby establishing which Business Aviation solution (or combination of solutions) work best to carry the company and its offerings into their bright new future.

So it is really not ‘visionary’ nor is it ‘enlightened’ planning and thinking that is required in the process of planning long-term travel needs- but rather it’s good old basic fundamentals.

Directors do not want to get out ahead of themselves. They will not want to prematurely add costs or capacity to their aviation solutions. They will instead want the growth of the flight department and its ability to fulfill the established mission to follow the path that is established on the bigger corporate plan by aligning with the current and nearterm growth of the business and the actual analyzed need for transportation.

It can be intoxicating to think about this current aviation market and buy opportunistically- but beware that over-buying ahead of need just to capture what might look like a once-in-a-lifetime price is not the path to success.

Buying based on solid planning and established need will never be the wrong approach.

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

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