Special Advocacy Supplement 2009

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NBAA Events Offering Updated ‘Business Case For Business Aviation'

NBAA is incorporating presentations on "The Business Case for Business Aviation" at some of the Association's larger events as part of a concerted effort to give flight department personnel the tools to articulate the contributions business aircraft provide to the companies that operate them.

The first of the new programs was presented during NBAA's 17th Annual Leadership Conference, which was held in February in New Orleans. NBAA's Steve Hadley, southwest regional representative, said the audience included representatives of a wide range of flight departments – from large companies to smaller operators with one or two pilots.

During the meeting, Hadley outlined some of the existing tools available to NBAA Members, such as the Association's Management Guide and Flight Department Essentials. But the discussion also covered some "real-world" examples from NBAA's web site about how small flight departments have helped their companies prosper.

Hadley cited the case of one firm whose CEO had been approached by the company's banker wanting to know why it was operating two aircraft. The two aircraft are used extensively to carry potential customers to the company's manufacturing facilities. When customers arrive, they get a tour and an overview of the entire product line, sort of like an in-house trade show. Officials of the aircraft operator were able to demonstrate to the banker that the airplanes are "an integral part" of its business model and a tool that the business used to its advantage, Hadley said.

Getting the Word Out

At a time when self-preservation is key, Hadley says business aviation needs to articulate the benefits and efficiencies that general aviation aircraft provide, along with publicizing some of the charitable work that aircraft operators perform. One way to get the word out is working through regional organizations, such as the Dallas Love Field Pilots Association, the Centennial Airport Business Association in Colorado and similar groups in Chicago, San Antonio, Houston and other parts of the country.

While there might be a tendency among flight department managers to want to keep a low profile and not attract attention in the current economic environment, Hadley suggests there really is a need to make others within the company knowledgeable about how aircraft are used.

"We're in the fire; this is a tough time," Hadley said, but it's also "a great opportunity" to let people know what we do "and to show it in a good light. Let's tell our story," he said.

The 24th Annual Maintenance Management Conference, scheduled for April 15–17 in New Orleans, will feature a new presentation on "The Business Case for Business Aviation." David Lombardo of Aviation International News is scheduled to moderate that discussion.