What Is Business Aviation?

Aviation in the United States is categorized three ways – as commercial (which includes the scheduled airlines) military, or general. Business aviation is a subset of general aviation, and is commonly defined as the use of general aviation aircraft for business purposes.

The Business Aviation Community: A Diverse Composite

There are about 15,000 business aircraft registered in the United States. “Business aircraft” is defined as fixed-wing turbine aircraft plus piston-twin general aviation aircraft and flown as business or corporate operations as determined by the FAA in 2002. About 3 percent of these aircraft are flown by Fortune 500 companies, while the remaining 97 percent encompass a broad cross-section of operators, including governments, schools and universities, churches, farms, foundations, charitable organizations and businesses – large, medium and small. Business aircraft operators are registered in every state in the country.

The Business Aircraft Fleet: Many Types of Aircraft

The types of business aircraft vary widely, ranging from propeller-driven aircraft to jets to helicopters. Although the fleet includes international business jets capable of seating 19 persons and flying New York to Tokyo non-stop, the vast majority seat six passengers in a cabin roughly the size of a large SUV and fly an average stage length of less than 1,000 miles.

The Need for Business Aviation: Providing Access, Strengthening Local Economies

While companies that rely on business aviation represent many different professions and locations, they all have one thing in common: the need for fast, flexible, safe, secure and cost-effective access to destinations across the country and around the world. In many instances, business aviation is the appropriate transportation solution, opening the door to global commerce for small-community and rural populations by linking them directly to population centers and manufacturing facilities. The benefits of business aviation to the U.S are clear:

  • Civil aviation contributed over $900 billion and 11 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2000, at least 9 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product.
  • Of this contribution, one dollar in nine is contributed by general aviation.
  • Of the general aviation economic contribution, 80 percent is generated by business aviation.
  • Business aircraft help companies increase productivity, because travel times are compressed and the office-like environment aboard aircraft enables employees to be productive in transit.

For more information about the role of business aviation in your state and across the U.S., contact Dick Doubrava, NBAA vice president, legislative affairs, at rdoubrava@nbaa.org or Christa Lucas, NBAA vice president, legislative affairs, at clucus@nbaa.org.