Should Business Aviation Just Say No?

By Scott Spangler on November 29th, 2009

BizJet-Pax After reading “Fly the Sleazy Skies,” an editorial in the November 26 New York Times, my first reaction was to say unkind things about politicians. In public they say bad things about business aviation, and then they get to eat their cake when the Federal Election Commission gives them a loophole that allows them to accept discounted use of a company’s corporate jet.

As pointed out in the editorial, after the Jack Abramoff corruption scandals the Senate said its members had to pay the full charter rate for corporate aircraft use, and the House banned it all together. Then the FEC interpreted this to be effective only when the politician was traveling as a candidate, not when he was on party committee business. The FEC is supposedly independent, but it was created by the Congress.

After my ire equalized, it struck me that it takes two to play this game of favors, a politician who needs to go somewhere, and a corporation looking to gain favor by providing corporate travel at a discount. And given the current state of corporate ethics…

Here’s a wild idea that will never grow wings, but wouldn’t it be nice if the corporate czars who seek favors through use of the aerial chariot so publicly criticized by politicians just said no when those same pols wanted to avoid airline travel?  It wouldn’t be pretty, or easy, but I’ll bet it wouldn’t take long before the politicians were speaking about business aviation in kinder tones and, maybe, actually doing something to make it better. – Scott Spangler

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4 Responses to “Should Business Aviation Just Say No?”

  1. Dr. Boyd Falconer Says:

    Great question – should business aviation just say no? My advice would be that business aviation should respond with a loud, unambiguous ‘Yes’. Yes – we’re here to serve. Yes – we’re here to meet a demanding business/transportation need.

    Business aviation has a public perception problem, to be sure. The problem is not insurmountable – though it won’t be solved by pollie-bashing (as tempting as that may be). The answer lies in more (and more, and more) clarity around the value of business aviation services to the various segments of the population that it serves. The NBAA is putting commendable effort into clarifying BizAv’s value… the message is seeping through, though more work from all stakeholders is required.

    — p.s. Great blog, gentlemen! I wish I had the time to participate more frequently. Please keep up the great work.

  2. Stephen Ruby Says:

    I was almost appalled when GM, and Chrysler showed up in Washington D.C. for Senate hearings on the bail-out of auto industry giants in separate G-550 aircraft. Where was the thinking here?

    Two major corporations requesting billions of dollars in grants decide to make their case arriving in top-of-the-line executive jets.

    The news media was quick to attack the whole genre of business aviation, something Dee Howard created back in 1947.

    Every major News outlet mentions the gas guzzling Gulfstream as the culprit of economic distress. How ridiculous. Ever think of how much employment goes into assembling such luxurious traveling time machines? Recent fourth quarter GAMA statistics show how the direct effects of bad publicity really dictate
    the downturn in business aviation.

    I hope someone realizes the impact corporate travel has on the entire spectrum of aviation and it’s ability to train, employ, and sustain the manufacturing climate in the U.S.

    I’m not a fan of the New York times, by the way.

  3. Robert Mark Says:

    Oh I think people realize the value all right Stephen. Trouble is we still spend way too much time preaching to the choir.

    Most of us get it.

    The auto execs could have avoided all of this mayhem for the rest of us if they had simply stood their ground and said, “Sure we came in out biz jets. We did that because we need to be in two other places yet today and this is the most efficient use of our time to get us out of this mess.”

    But as we all know, that isn’t quite the way it all went down.

    I’d invite anyone reading this to go click on any of the Cessna Rise ads on our homepage and take a look at how one manufacturer is dealing with the issue.

  4. Robert Mark Says:

    And BTW, thanks for those nice thoughts Dr. Falconer. Nice to have you back with us. Make sure you tell your friends!

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