Bizav’s Latest Black Eye:
Who didn’t respond and needs to...?
I enjoyed the Fourth of July weekend. Lots of people on Cape Cod for a beautiful- warm weekend - so many people- in fact- that on Saturday my wife and I could not find a parking spot at the beach. So I had to go back home and mow the lawn. While cutting the grass- I took the time to ruminate over the recent press and Presidential comments regarding Business Aviation. The only protests I've heard of are from those of us in aviation. That is too bad.
As summer made its way into the Northern Hemisphere- Business Aviation once again found itself under an 'eclipse' of darkness. This time it was courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and then the President.
First up was the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) with a front-page article (June 16th) describing the personal (ab)use of business aircraft with reports of frequent travels by some corporate jets to resort destinations. While the accuracy of the report is not in question (full disclosure- Conklin & de Decker supplied WSJ with accurate hourly costs for the aircraft models)- many felt that the article was sensationalized.
While the WSJ did state 'Corporate jets are vital business tools...' its analysis revealed something else: flights supporting personal use of business aircraft are underreported.
The WSJ followed that up with a second article on June 20th about the former IBM chief- Louis Gerstner- and the number of trips IBM aircraft currently make to destinations where Mr. Gerstner has vacation homes.
Then on June 29th- the President was talking on the economy and the deficit when he stated- 'I think it's only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up a tax break that no other business enjoys.'
NBAA- NATA- AOPA and other aviation groups were quick to respond. Their responses tried to focus on the contributions that Business and General Aviation make to the US economy- and that most 'Fat Cats' are really medium-sized businesses flying in smaller aircraft trying to do everything they can to survive in today's markets. While some responses seemed a bit quick to take offense- they did a good job of trying to show the value of Business Aviation to the US economy.
What is mostly absent from the discussion is a coordinated response. No- not from those of us whose livelihoods depend on aviation- but from those who directly use and benefit from these aircraft. What I would like to see is business CEOs and owners get together with an open letter sent to the major news outlets describing the importance of aircraft to their ability to conduct business.
It should come from small- to medium-size businesses that use aircraft. Not the top mega-corporations- but those companies flying aircraft representing the other 85% of Business Aviation. I'm talking of companies with annual sales in the tens of millions or hundreds of millions. I think a response from those companies would be far more compelling.
People might see them more as 'regular folks' versus the titans we regularly see in the business news headlines. (Sorry Donald Trump- Business Aviation won't benefit from your defense.)
But who can talk to these folks and ask them to respond?
How about their trusted pilots and mechanics! Let me know how I can help. To get you started- below are some useful links:
AOPA Advocacy Link: http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/capitolhill/
NATA Government Affairs: http://www.nata.aero/Government-Affairs.aspx
NBAA Get Involved Link: http://www.nbaa.org/advocacy/get-involved/
No Plane No Gain: http://www.noplanenogain.org/
US Senate: http://www.senate.gov/
US House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/
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