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Are concerns about public perception toward Business Aviation still clouding your judgment about the long-term benefits of this mode of travel? They should not- advises Jay Mesinger.

We have discussed ‘Optics’ and the associated negative perceptions surrounding use of business aircraft by today’s major corporations. At times recently the mere idea of embracing Business Aviation would force many Boards to sell their business aircraft or put off buying these productive assets to avoid being seen as excessive. Against the backdrop of the worst economic conditions in several generations- anything that even appeared to be an excess was at risk of being rejected by the very people who understood the high value of the assets they were shunning. Concern over short-term optics was overshadowing the opportunity for long-term growth and efficiency.

There is no question that excess may have been one of the catalysts for the economic woes of this past downturn. I would challenge everyone- however- to step back and evaluate what was genuinely excessive and what may have just appeared excessive to outside viewers.

Conducting such an evaluation- the Board can make better business decisions based on the reality- and not just the perception of ‘optics’. Recall that the Board discussions that originally resulted in acquiring a business aircraft were focused on return on investment and economic growth opportunity for the company rather than any notion of exuberant overspending and opulence.

Originally- the Board may have focused on optics for a moment- but more than likely Directors reserved the most attention for discussions of cost- the purchase of the right aircraft for the expected missions- and whether the right travel solution was being implemented with or without the need for whole aircraft ownership. Instead of considering only 100 percent ownership- the choices of chartering- fractional- commercial travel or a hybrid arrangement of these options were evaluated as a way to accomplish the company’s growing business needs.

The idea of getting in front of your customer and ahead of the competition was the prime topic. The Board was already certain that making these proactive trips were needed- and Directors desired the benefits that business aircraft would bring to shareholders.

BUSINESS AVIATION VALUE NOW
The need for Board Members to communicate the value of Business Aviation is now- when negative optics are swirling around. Citing examples- Directors must share why Business Aviation is important and why this unique form of transportation is beneficial for the company. Be bold in telling ‘nonbelievers’ how business aircraft enable employees to reach new customers and maintain personal and positive relationships with existing ones.

If a company is benefiting from use of business aircraft- that fact should be proudly articulated to the Board as well as to their shareholders. Communicating the ‘good news’ of Business Aviation at Board meetings establishes a mindset that recognizes and accepts business aircraft as tools of productivity. Boards that discount business aircraft because of negative stereotypes or fear of bad optics are doing their shareholders a disservice. Companies need efficient and effective transportation for their employees; Business Aviation provides the resources- ranging from charter- block charter- fractional programs- timesharing- interchange agreements- joint ownership and full ownership- to provide such transportation.

If we as a community are to keep business aircraft working successfully for shareholders and receiving reasonable access to airspace and airports- we must collectively spread the positive word to those who fail to see the advantages of Business Aviation.

CARRY THE MESSAGE FORWARD
Board members must join with their shareholders to be sure this important message—that Business Aviation brings benefits to American’s economy—gets out and has traction in the halls of city- state and national government. We must help government policy makers expand their understanding and remove this category of business tool from the perception of excess.

It is up to us- the recipients of good business decisions involving business aircraft- to carry this critical message to those who are operating under a misconception. Business Aviation is not excess: It is a foundation of success in American business.

How should a Board with limited time and many issues to address- support Business Aviation? Seek information that helps fellow Directors advocate their company’s use of business aircraft. Be proud of the Business Aviation community- which brings good jobs to rural America by providing US corporations with efficient access to areas where skilled labor is available and opportunities abound. Also- spread the word that the manufacture- maintenance and servicing of business aircraft account for many thousands of good jobs- and that the export of business jets contribute to our nation’s balance of trade.

Business Aviation is a proud and important industry- and our nation needs this capability more today than ever before. So please- shout out your advocacy for business aircraft and their critical role in your business world.

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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