Business Aviation: The Unfair Advantage
What was once used only in extraordinary circumstances or by top global companies has today become a business necessity. If you charter, lease or own an aircraft, you already understand that Business Aviation — also called General Aviation — is as indispensable as your cell phone and your laptop. For those companies that don’t use Business Aviation, read on to discover why it’s an invaluable business tool in order to survive — and thrive — in today’s tough economic climate.
Only about 3 percent of the approximately 15,000 business aircraft registered in the U.S. are flown by America’s largest and most well-known companies, while the remaining 97 percent are operated by a broad cross-section of organizations, including governments, universities, charitable organizations and businesses — large, medium and small. And that 97% represents the vibrant heartbeat of what keeps American business humming… or in this case, flying.
Whether it’s moving a team of technicians from one plant to another or bringing clients in for a presentation, companies of all sizes and in all industries are counting on business aviation to compete in their specific markets. As a result, business aviation is saving companies money by eliminating the “down time” and frustrations associated with commercial air travel.
“Because there isn’t enough time in the day as it is, relying on a business aircraft helps companies take advantage of the time they do have,” says Kim Showalter, President of Showalter Flying Service in Orlando.
Companies are taking to heart the old adage “time is money” as they seek increased productivity and profitability, while providing healthier, happier work environments for their employees. And they’ve found several instances where business aircraft accomplishes both — such as when a sales team has several places to go in a short amount of time, when more than one employee is traveling on the same itinerary, when their destination isn’t a major airline hub, or when airline schedules simply don’t fit the company work schedule.
For most companies, cost was the major stumbling block to using business aviation services in the past. But that argument is no longer valid, says Showalter. Businesses that rely on their own aircraft have done comparison studies to determine its cost versus the combined cost of commercial air travel, including airfares, overnight expenses for hotels and meals, car rentals, and, most importantly, the value of an executive’s time on the road and away from home and family. ”Those costs add up,” adds Showalter. “Businesses are finally realizing it’s more cost-effective to have their employees working instead of waiting for delayed or canceled flights.”
Less time at airline terminals is scoring big points with employees, too, who are eating more meals at home and fewer at the airport. Business aviation actually gives business travelers the freedom to go where they want, when they want. And with the trend in business to decentralize from major cities, that’s important. Today, if your business destination isn’t a major commercial airline hub, it takes you twice as long to reach it.
Aside from the ease in scheduling, users of business aviation are exposed to fewer travel hassles. The walk from the ramp to the luggage carousel to the taxi stand becomes obsolete, as does lost luggage and cramped quarters on board.
“Many companies actually conduct business or staff meetings in the air when traveling by business aviation,” Showalter says.
Business aircraft generally take the form of single- or twin-engine pistons, turboprops, or corporate jets, and can accommodate as few as four or as many as 24 passengers. While the commercial airlines have access to only 500 airports, business aviation aircraft can take off and land at more than 5,000 facilities around the country — 10 times more than are available to commercial airliners.
“Business aviation has simply become a way of life for the successful, thriving businesses of today,” Showalter says. “From the boardroom to the accounting department, it’s the most efficient business travel alternative available.”
Source: Betsy Donnelly, Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/businessaviation/2012/08/06/business-aviation-the-unfair-advantage/