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Business jets to rebound, CEO tells Aero Club
November 5, 2010
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  • By Molly McMillin

    October 27, 2010

    Signature Flight Support president Michael Scheeringadidn’t use a corporate jet when he flew to Wichita on Tuesday to speak at theWichita Aero Club luncheon.

    Scheeringa, the keynote speaker at the luncheon held atthe Wichita Airport Hilton, flies commercial airlines when he travels alone anduses business aircraft when flying with a group of customers.

    He wants to be careful not to perpetuate a faultystereotype of the way business aircraft is used.

    Corporate aircraft are used for business purposes 75percent of the time, although the industry received a negative backlash afterthe CEOs of three Detroit automakers flew business jets to Washington to askfor bail-out money, he said.

    The business jet industry has experienced four majordownturns in the past 30 years, and it’s bounced back from every one,Scheeringa said.

    “It’s a very resilient industry,” Scheeringasaid. The good news is that the market has begun to recover, although recoveryhas been muted.

    Fortune 200 companies are flying as much today as theydid in 2008, he said.

    It’s the small-business owners who are not yet usingbusiness aviation as much as they had, he said.

    The political climate has caused uncertainty about thetax structure for owners of smaller businesses, he said. That leads touncertainty about their future income and generates a lack of confidence.

    It’s that lack of confidence that affects the businessaviation industry in Wichita and elsewhere, he said.

    Signature Flight Support has outperformed the industry.

    The company operates 103 fixed-base operations throughoutthe world, including one at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport .

    It handles more than a million aircraft movements in ayear, sells 160 million gallons of Jet A fuel a year, and houses one in every10 business jets in its hangars. It employs 2,300 people through its network offixed-base operations.

    The company also operates four overhaul facilities and 12regional turbine centers, including a turbine center inside Cessna Aircraft’splant in Wichita .

    Date: 2010-10-27