What Is Business Aviation?

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What is Business Aviation?

Business aviation is the use of any “general aviation” aircraft for a business purpose. The Federal Aviation Administration defines general aviation as all flights that are not conducted by the military or the scheduled airlines. As such, business aviation is a part of general aviation that focuses on the business use of airplanes and helicopters.

The business aviation community consists of companies of all sizes that rely on many different types of aircraft – from single-pilot airplanes, to turbine aircraft that fly internationally, to helicopters that survey rush-hour traffic – and the fixed-base operations and many other services that support flight operations at the nation’s 5,000 public-use airports. The vast majority of businesses in this community – 97 percent – are small- to mid-size businesses and other entities including nonprofit organizations. The tens of thousands of businesses in the business aviation community are:


Business aviation is a diverse composite of entrepreneurs and organizations – nonprofits and companies of all sizes – located in all parts of the United States, often in small towns and rural areas. Business aircraft can range from helicopters to fixed-wing turbine or propeller airplanes, with the prop-and turboprop- driven categories composing the majority of America’s business aviation fleet. Learn more.

Safe and Secure

The business aviation community and the federal government have adopted many security measures to harden the industry against terrorist threats. NBAA works to ensure that the businesses in its membership have secure and reliable access to airspace and airports across the country. Learn more.

Economic Drivers, Essential to the National Interest

Contributing significantly to the national economy, state and local economies, business aviation is often an economic lifeline for areas with limited options for business transportation. Business aviation also provides vital air transportation in times of public need, including fire and rescue and medical evacuation services, and represents an essential transportation link for communities without scheduled airline service. Learn more.

    Advocacy Publications

  • Business Leaders on Business Aviation Booklet

    Business Leaders on Business Aviation

    First introduced at NBAA's 2014 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2014) and updated for 2015, the Business Leaders on Business Aviation publication collects the voices of 25 CEOs from some of the country's most dynamic and widely known companies, affirming how business aviation works for their companies. Learn more and order free printed copies.

  • Business Aviation Fact Book

    Business Aviation Fact Book

    NBAA's Business Aviation Fact Book offers a clear and thorough presentation of the broad scope and value of the business aviation industry, with real-world information and data about its value to citizens, companies and communities across the country. Learn more and order free printed copies.

  • Airport Handbook

    Airports Handbook

    NBAA's Airports Handbook makes a compelling case for the importance of general aviation airports and their economic and social contributions to surrounding communities and the nation. Learn More and order free printed copies.

Industry Studies

Contribution of General Aviation to the U.S. Economy in 2013

Conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and funded by eight general aviation associations, including NBAA, this 2015 study determined that general aviation supports 1.1 million total jobs and supplies $219 billion in total economic output in the United States. These numbers include direct, indirect, induced and enabled impacts. A related narrative report, titled “The Wide Wings and Rotors of General Aviation,” captures some of the stories behind the industry’s significant economic and community impact throughout the United States.

Download the study (380 KB, PDF)

Review the narrative report (5.3 MB, PDF)

Business Aviation and the World's Top Performing Companies

Part V in the NEXA Advisors series found that on a global level, companies using business aviation overwhelmingly take top honors in revenue growth, innovation, employee satisfaction, and market share, confirming that business aircraft are a mark of a well-managed global company.

Download the study (2.1 MB, PDF)

Business Aviation: Maintaining Shareholder Value Through Turbulent Times

Part IV in the NEXA Advisors series examined the performance of S&P 500 companies during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2012 and determined that companies that utilize business aviation consistently outperform organizations that don't, even in tough economic times.

Download the study (3 MB, PDF)

Government Use of Aircraft: A Taxpayer Value Perspective

Part III in the NEXA Advisors series shows that local, state and federal government use of business aircraft increases agency or departmental efficiency and provides significant taxpayer value.

Download the study (2.1 MB, PDF)

Business Aviation: An Enterprise Value Perspective – Small and Medium Enterprises

Part II in the NEXA Advisors series examined whether the use of business aircraft provided benefits to small and medium businesses, measured in terms of shareholder and enterprise value. The analysis showed that small and medium companies in America that used business aviation consistently outperformed nonusers.

Download the study (3.7 MB, PDF)

Business Aviation: An Enterprise Value Perspective – The S&P 500

Part I in a series of studies conducted by NEXA Advisors, this study examined the performance of S&P 500 companies between 2003 and 2009 and determined that business aircraft users outperformed nonusers in several important financial measures.

Download the study (4 MB, PDF)

The Real World of Business Aviation: Survey of Companies Using General Aviation Aircraft

This survey, conducted for NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association by Harris Interactive, concludes that a typical company in the business aviation community is a small or mid-sized business flying a single aircraft that is used by a broad mix of employees to make business trips utilizing community airports, often with little or no airline service.

Download the study (544 KB, PDF)

Business Aircraft

Business Aircraft

The types of business aircraft vary widely, ranging from propeller-driven aircraft to jets to helicopters. Read More.

Business Aircraft Uses

Business Aircraft Uses

Companies rely on business aviation for fast, flexible, safe, secure and cost-effective access to destinations across the country and around the world. Read More.