May 5, 2005

USA TODAY’s report on the corporate jet was an injustice to the thousands of Americans who rely on business aviation to improve the efficiency and success of their organizations. The story also misleads readers about who really uses company planes (“The corporate jet: Necessity or ultimate executive toy?” Cover story, Money, April 27).

Of the 15,000 business aircraft registered in the United States, 97% do not represent Fortune 500 companies, but a diverse group that ranges from small- and medium-size businesses to government and non-profit institutions. Additionally, 86% of theses fliers are not top executives, but managers and other staff flying on business. So it is unfortunate that USA TODAY is content to recycle an old story about executives who use company planes for personal travel.

Finally, lost in the paper’s sensationalistic approach are two important facts:

  • Personal travel is a legal use of corporate aircraft when publicly reported. Otherwise, USA TODAY would have had no access to the data.
  • Studies also have shown a distinct shareholder-value advantage for companies that use business aircraft.

Ed Bolen, president and CEO
National Business Aviation Association