In light of recent publicity surrounding Congressional hearings about certain companies’ use of business aviation, NBAA has fielded inquiries from representatives with news organizations and other individuals about what business aviation is and how it is used in the U.S.

To clear up a number of misperceptions, NBAA has provided the questions most often asked of the Association, with responses that lay out the facts to explain how business aviation helps companies of all sizes remain nimble, competitive and successful, especially in a difficult economic climate.

Q: Aren’t business aircraft used mostly by major corporations?
A: No, the vast majority of companies using business aviation–85%–are small and mid-size businesses and other entities, including nonprofit organizations. For every Fortune 500 company that relies on business aviation, there are several small businesses that also need their airplane. Most companies use just one business airplane, which typically seats six passengers and flies relatively short stage lengths, mostly using small community airports.
Q: Aren’t the planes used just for CEO transportation?
A: While each company has its own policies for use of business aircraft, an NBAA survey revealed that 86% of passengers aboard business airplanes are mid-level people, including salespeople, engineers, or other employees. Many companies have a first-come-first-served policy for use of the aircraft.
Q: Why would a company ever require an executive to fly exclusively on a company airplane?
A: Some companies want their top people to be in constant communication with the home office. Security is also often a consideration, especially for companies with a high public profile; business aircraft allow employees to discuss proprietary information in a secure environment and without fear of eavesdropping. And companies want to ensure that executives are able to maintain flexible and nimble schedules, with reliable transportation access to all the places they may need to reach on a moment’s notice.
Q: Do companies just use these planes to avoid the hassles of airline travel?
A: Companies that have their own airplane often use the airlines. A survey conducted by NBAA several years ago revealed that the Association’s Member companies spend $11 billion annually on travel with the airlines. NBAA makes available software called “Travel$ense,” which helps businesses determine the best transportation option for a given mission.
Q: What are the kinds of trips where business aviation makes more sense than a commercial flight?
A: Some examples might include trips that involve destinations with little or no airline service; missions that involve multiple stops in a single day; delivering people or parts in real time (for example, flying emergency equipment to a broken assembly line or providing a flight for employees who need to discuss proprietary information).
Q: What should shareholders know about companies that have an airplane?
A: Companies that have an airplane return more to their shareholders than their competitors without aircraft. Studies show business use of general aviation adds value to a company’s bottom line. Businesspeople can make a trip involving stops at several locations, then return to headquarters the same day, saving time and travel expenses that would be needed to make the same trip over several days via auto, train or airline transport. Business aviation is a productivity tool – when traveling aboard business aircraft, employees can meet, plan and work with each other.