November 28, 2009

The Nov. 19 Star Tribune article about a local utility company’s business airplanes (Xcel execs fly high in leased jets, at ratepayers’ expense, Nov. 19) painted these assets with a negative brush, when in fact, the use of an airplane is a sign of a well-managed company.

Companies of all sizes – in Minnesota and across the United States – view a business airplane as an essential tool for providing customer service, reaching distant company offices, transporting sales and management teams and conducting a host of other types of necessary business flights.

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. Also, because employees can meet, plan and work with each other aboard business aircraft, productivity, confidentiality and security en route are assured.

Studies have long underscored the return on investment a business airplane provides to a company. One study, conducted earlier this year, concludes definitively that by a host of measurements, companies using business aviation outperform those without aircraft. “In conducting this study, we found that companies using business aircraft outperform non-users across every key financial and non-financial measure of business success,” the study’s author noted.

Here’s the bottom line: Well-run companies routinely invest in telecommunications equipment, computer software and other tools that help employees work more efficiently and productively. A business airplane is that kind of tool, and its use should be encouraged, not disparaged. It’s unfortunate this perspective was missing from your story.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association