By Mark Patiky
In any period of financial turbulence, opportunities emerge. That’s when companies with vision, foresight and agility can change their fortunes dramatically for the better. That’s where business aviation comes in. From industry giants to independent firms, companies and indi¬viduals are realizing that the true cost of a business aircraft is in not having one at all.
Companies around the globe with their own business air¬craft are traveling when and where they want to with speed, safety and security. These business aircraft enable busy executives to visit multiple cit¬ies in a day; to compress long, wasted hours of commercial air travel into short, intensely productive periods of time; and to bring key prospects to a facility. With the ability to land at 5,000 local airports across the country, business aircraft provide unfettered direct access to virtually any community. You certainly won’t get there easily via airlines, which serve barely 10% of these non-hub locations.
Prepare for Takeoff
It’s not only busy schedules that are driving the growth of business aviation—it’s bottom-line results. A study of the S&P 500 companies by Virginia-based consulting firm NEXA Advi¬sors LLC found that over a five-year period, companies that used business aircraft had twice the total shareholder return of companies that did not.
“You have the freedom to operate on your own schedule,” says Lars Thrane, founder of Denmark-based global satellite communications company Thrane & Thrane. “That’s a neces¬sary part of our business. That efficiency and flexibility is an essential factor in our success.” In addition, Thrane points out, today’s business aircraft are often better equipped than many offices, featuring phone, fax, TV and wireless Internet. So you don’t just get there faster, you get there ready.
The best part is you don’t even have to own an aircraft to gain all the valuable benefits. New access options such as jet cards and fractional ownership have opened the skies to businesses of all sizes, while new aircraft and technologies are making the fleet more flexible, affordable and capable than ever.
The Sky Is No Longer The Limit
The trends driving the growth of business aviation are unlikely to wane. The need to be highly efficient, to take control of time and to have the ability to travel anywhere at any time is not going away. At the same time, new technologies, new aircraft and new access options are driving down costs while increasing capabilities, reliability and safety. “Companies today are trying to do more with less, and that means making the most productive use of their most precious assets: people and time,” says President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Ed Bolen.
The real value of business aviation is in creating opportu¬nity, generating productivity, building efficiency and saving time. What’s the cost? You can’t calculate that in terms of airplane tickets and hotel stays. According to Barry LaBov, President and CEO of Fort Wayne, Ind., marketing com¬munications company LaBov & Beyond, “You have to look at a business aircraft as an investment for growth: not as a cost-cutting move or an efficiency measure, but as a growth opportunity. You are able to utilize your best people with your best clients on a moment’s notice.”
When you consider it that way, then the calculation is mean¬ingful. Then the future becomes clear, because the sky is no longer the limit.