October 3, 2005

Reporting on personal use of business aircraft may help sell newspapers, but your article on the matter (“JetGreen: The CEO’s Private Golf Shuttle,” Weekend Edition, Oct. 1) overlooked some key points.

The Journal appeared to take issue with the costs borne by employees for the flights. What you didn’t tell your readers is that Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibit employees from reimbursing private aircraft operators for the full cost of owning and operating an aircraft. Basically, in not paying for their flights, employees who fly for personal use are complying with federal law, not making ethical distinctions.

There are many good reasons companies allow for some personal travel on business aircraft. Directors cite the efficiency of the aircraft in minimizing employees’ time away from the office and their families. Businesses often mandate that certain employees always travel aboard company aircraft because of safety and security concerns. Many corporate boards restrict personal travel to aircraft that are otherwise unused. And, directors often negotiate personal use as part of a compensation package that helps companies attract and retain top executive talent.

Whatever the rationale for personal use, companies make decisions about it in full compliance with the law, based on what is best for the business.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association