As an industry, we need to change the mainstream media and public’s perception of what we do.
To the average Joe, private jets are simply a mechanism for the rich and the famous to get from party to party, shopping trip to shopping trip, and beach hide-away to beach hide-away.
But how do you change a perception that’s so in-grained and deeply rooted in people’s consciousness?
One way to do this could be to talk about the uses of private jets in humanitarian missions. A perfect example of this was the use of business jets in the search for the missing Malaysian Boeing 777-200ER flight MH370.
While the mass media focused on the search efforts being carried out by Chinese Air Force IL-76’s, Japanese Self Defense Force P-3s, US Air Force P-8As and the local Australian P-3s, quietly in the background, a group of private jets were being used.
These included an Australian-registered G550 and Global 6000, and a New Zealand registered G650, so while globally we were celebrating the collaboration between not-too-friendly countries, we missed the larger picture.
Execujet, the manager of the New Zealand Gulfstream G650 used in the search pointed us towards AMSA, the main search coordinators, when asked for a comment. You can understand that it may seem crass to be blowing your own trumpet in such tragic circumstances, but if the public’s perception of private jets is ever going to change, then we need to start making noises now.
An event that largely goes unnoticed by mass media is the Citation Special Olympics Airlift. Every four years, coinciding with the Special Olympics themselves, Cessna organises a whole army of Citations to get the Olympians to the games. Held this year in Trenton, New Jersey, there are currently 98 companies signed up to take part in the airlift – some using multiple aircraft – and each donating their time, aircraft and associated costs to this great cause.
Need another example? How about the Corporate Angel Network? Based at Westchester County Airport, the Corporate Angel Network matches cancer patients who need to travel to get the best treatment available with empty spaces on private jets. Set up in 1981, the Corporate Angel Network has arranged over 35,000 flights so far, using aircraft from 500 US companies and currently averages around 3,000 flights a year.
We all have a duty to change the public perception of our industry, including us here at Corporate Jet Investor, and we hope that in the not too distant future the words “private jet” won’t be solely seen as the play things for the elite.