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Letter to The Wall Street Journal in Response to "Corporate Jet Set: Leisure vs. Business"

Letter as Published on June 23, 2011

The Wall Street Journal
Most Corporate Aircraft Users Are a 'Working Jet Set'

6/23/2011

Your front-page story detailing the movements of "general aviation" airplanes by businesses ("Corporate Jet Set: Leisure vs. Business," June 16) unfortunately neglected to mention that the personal use of a company's airplane typically accounts for only a tiny fraction of the aircraft's flights.

A view of business aviation beyond the select list of flights included in your story would reveal that for the most part, businesspeople use airplanes to reach towns with little or no airline service, work more efficiently and productively while in flight, and be more nimble and competitive in a global marketplace.

That said, directors at publicly traded companies do allow for some personal use of an airplane in accordance with applicable Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements, including proxy-statement reporting to shareholders. Directors make this allowance because a typical business executive is on call 24 hours a day, whether in the office or in the air.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association
Washington

Full Letter as Submitted on June 17, 2011

The Wall Street Journal
ATTN: Letters Editor
200 Liberty Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10281-1015

June 17, 2011

Your front-page story detailing the movements of "general aviation" airplanes by businesses ("Corporate Jet Set: Leisure vs. Business," June 16) unfortunately neglected to mention that the personal use of a company’s airplane typically accounts for only a tiny fraction of the aircraft’s flights.

A view of business aviation beyond the select list of flights included in your story would reveal that for the most part, businesspeople use an airplane to reach towns with little or no airline service, work more efficiently and productively while in flight, and be more nimble and competitive in a global marketplace.

That said, directors at publicly traded companies do allow for some personal use of an airplane in accordance with applicable SEC reporting requirements, including proxy-statement reporting to shareholders. Directors make this allowance because a typical business executive is on call 24 hours a day, whether in the office or in the air - facts taken into account, along with bottom-line considerations, including the terms of executives' compensation packages, and the important role of business aviation in maintaining the confidentiality of corporate travel for competitive reasons. 

In fact, we have documented instances in which business flights have been tracked by competitors interested in who or where their customers were, where an acquisition target might be, and the like.

That's why the National Business Aviation Association and other organizations are actively opposing the government's plan to roll back a long-standing program, referenced in your story, which provides citizens and companies with the ability to "opt out" of having their aviation movements tracked.

We will continue to oppose the government's move to dismantle this congressionally enabled program, because whether you're a top executive, or one of the countless mid-level managers, salespeople, marketing representatives or technicians who make up the vast majority of a business airplane's passengers, the simple fact is that boarding that airplane should not be tantamount to sacrificing the confidentiality of the company’s business activities.

Sincerely,

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association