While few companies and entrepreneurs doubt the value of business aircraft, many ask the best way to engage in Business Aviation. David Wyndham provides answers on the options…
Business has never been more competitive. One thing remains essentially unchanged, however - the need to communicate in order to achieve company goals. Phone calls, emails or video conferences - none are as effective as the in-person meeting.
In-person meetings are productive, but the time needed to travel to and from these meetings can take its toll on even the most hearty businessperson.
First is the time spent away from the office. Many major airports have lengthy waits at security lines during periods of peak travel. Airline schedules are designed to serve the herd, not the individual. Flight delays can cause connecting flights to be missed.
A simple two-hour meeting half-way across the country can require two-day’s travel. A half-day meeting across the globe, with the effects of jet lag, can take a week or more out of a productive schedule. If you are reading this, you already know there is a better way: Business Aviation.
Business Aviation offers convenience, speed, security and flexibility. The value of a senior leader’s time, or a group of employees traveling and working together can easily outweigh the costs of the travel.
Along with the schedule flexibility of using business aircraft, however, comes the flexibility to choose between the many forms of Business Aviation—whether occasional charter, contract charter, card program, specialized card/club programs, fractional ownership, timesharing between flight departments, joint ownership or the services of a full-blown in-house flight department dedicated to the company or entrepreneur.
This series of articles will help determine what form(s) of Business Aviation can satisfy your travel needs. No one form is superior to the others, and all have their strengths.
Where to Start
First consider your travel needs. Where do you travel, with how many people and how often?
To illustrate, I had one client who needed to travel from Houston, Texas to Elko, Nevada. At a minimum the trip required two overnights as the airline required a full day for travel each way because of connecting stops. A business aircraft can make the trip out and back in one day.
Another client was looking at monthly trips from their US headquarters to Asia with six people. The airline schedule was sufficiently frequent that scheduling the trip was not onerous. But the travelers needed privacy to discuss business during the long flight and when appropriate to obtain rest. With six people, a business aircraft enabled conditions for both work and rest.
A third client has corporate offices in the Southern US and in the Northeast US. The company has teams of employees traveling between these locations every week. A typical trip comprises eight people flying north and a different group of eight flying south.
As neither corporate office is near a major hub airline airport, layovers and delays using the Scheduled Airlines added at least one, sometimes two days to the travel.
Eight people missing one eight-hour day of work because of travel considerations costs 64-person hours. Such loss of productivity with two groups over one year can cost about 6,400 person-hours!
Another important step in the travel analysis is to identify your pain points:
There are over 5,500 General Aviation airports suitable to the typical business aircraft in the US alone. In many cases, there is an airport close by where you need to go.
Consider how many people travel on these trips using the airlines.
Determine if you need space to work while travelling on the flight.
Ultimately, the business aircraft operates on your schedule.
Security and Peace of Mind
Are you or someone on your team a nervous flier? Business Aviation has safety rules and best practices that are the equal to anything the airlines follow. The safety record of multi-engine business jets flown by a two-person salaried crew is essentially identical to that of the Schedule Airlines.
Some Business Aviation options allow you to have a dedicated crew. There can be a great comfort in knowing the first names of your pilots.
Many other benefits accrue to companies that use Business Aviation. For example, baggage and valuable equipment are unlikely to be mishandled or lost on a business aircraft.
Senior executives under a mandated security program regarding travel find business aircraft particularly secure.
What about bringing in clients and prospects to visit your facilities? Such outreach enables customers to understand your firm better and to know how much you value their use of time. Sending a business aircraft to bring them to you is a sure sign that their business is important to you.
In subsequent articles we will provide insight and information that describes what forms of Business Aviation can best serve your company’s travel needs.