As flight operations return to pre-COVID normality, much of the focus is on the essentials, like crew training and aircraft maintenance. However, aviation managers must also recognize the importance of complying with all safety protocols, including group executive travel policies.
Group executive travel policies ensure that a company’s key personnel do not travel on the same flight. The concept is rooted in a risk management approach that considers a particular scenario’s likelihood and severity. The general conclusion is that while it might be unlikely that an accident involving an aircraft carrying multiple key executives will occur, the impact on the organization should such an event happen could be catastrophic.
Thankfully, many companies recognize the value of employing risk management for executive travel. However, according to Jeff Agur, CEO of aviation consulting firm VanAllen, there is a direct correlation between the size and type of an organization and the adoption of corporate travel policies. “From our data, 91% of public companies have a formal policy, while only 33% of private companies have one,” he said.
“The underlying idea behind a corporate travel policy is business continuity, and in many cases, the loss of top executives will likely be more detrimental to a smaller organization than to a large company, even placing its continued existence in jeopardy,” said Mark Larsen, CAM, NBAA’s director of safety and flight operations.
“The underlying idea behind a corporate travel policy is business continuity, and in many cases, the loss of top executives will likely be more detrimental to a smaller organization than to a large company, even placing its continued existence in jeopardy.”
Mark Larsen , CAM, director of safety and flight operations, NBAA
“Corporate travel policies should be part of a broader enterprise risk management strategy that mitigates the impact of a worst-case scenario,” Larsen added. “While it may seem like a straightforward process, there are nuances and complexities to every policy. That is why NBAA has included clear and concise guidance on the fundamental characteristics for a group executive travel policy in our members-only NBAA Management Guide to help entities of all sizes create an executive travel policy that protects their principals and ensures continuity.”
“Companies should also consider this as more than a policy for the aircraft cabin,” continued Larsen. “Group executive travel policies should also consider the risk of joint ground transportation and the use of commercial air transport.”
Even larger companies with established procedures should revisit and reacquaint executives, their assistants and aviation department personnel with the executive group travel policy, advised Megan Knox, CAM, who handles scheduling and finance administration for international telecommunications firm Liberty Global.
“It has been more than two years since many flight departments have operated at typical capacity, and while flights are now returning, many things could have changed in that time,” explained Knox. “The executives may be new to the company or in different roles, procedures may be forgotten, or new staff may have been added to the aviation department.”
“It would be easy to miss policies like executive group travel, which are not utilized on every flight, so it would be prudent for key personnel to be reminded of the policy and why it is important,” said Knox. “At the end of the day, group executive travel policies are here to keep people safe, and it is a best practice to ensure that all safety policies are enforced when appropriate.”