The Real World of Business Aviation

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Business aviation is a diverse composite of entrepreneurs and organizations – nonprofits and companies of all sizes – located in all parts of the United States, often in small towns and rural areas.

Business Aircraft Operators and Passengers

  • Fully 85 percent of business aircraft operators are small to mid-size companies using only one airplane.
  • The safety record for business aircraft operators is one of the best in aviation, virtually identical to that for the commercial airlines.
  • Surveys indicate that 86 percent of business aircraft passengers are marketing and sales personnel, technical experts, other company representatives and customers. Only 14 percent of passengers are top company managers.
  • Companies that own a business aircraft rarely use it as an exclusive travel option. Instead, trips are analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine the best way to accomplish a given mission. That’s why companies that use business aviation also spend more than $11 billion on commercial airline tickets each year.
  • A survey conducted by Harris Interactive concludes that the typical company in the business aviation community is a small or mid-sized business flying a single aircraft that is used by a broad mix of employees to make business trips utilizing community airports, often with little or no airline service. Review the survey results (544KB, PDF)

The Business Aircraft Fleet

  • More than 80 percent of the business aircraft fleet is composed of helicopters, propeller-driven planes and small jets, which are ideal for carrying four to eight passengers on short flights of two hours or less.

The Need for Business Aircraft

  • In a competitive environment, companies must maximize the use of their two most important assets – people and time. Studies have shown that use of business aircraft allows for higher personnel productivity and more efficient staff utilization when workers are traveling. Business jets can also reduce total travel time.
  • A study conducted by NEXA Advisors, finds that companies using business aviation outperform those without aircraft, and demonstrates that business aviation alone is capable of accelerating strategic transactions and therefore providing a competitive edge to top-performing companies. Download the study Business Aviation - An Enterprise Value Perspective (4MB, PDF)

Business Aviation Airports

  • Business aircraft typically fly in and out of small airports, which often are called “reliever” airports. There are thousands of reliever airports across the U.S., and most have shared characteristics that make them favorable to business aircraft operators:
    • They are located away from congested airline hubs;
    • The runways and other facilities are designed for use by business aircraft operators; and
    • They typically are closer to the passenger’s final destination, saving time.
  • Learn more by reading Business Aviation Airports: A Contrast to the Commercial Airline Hubs.