Special Advocacy Supplement 2009

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Providing Online Tools to Make the Case for Business Aircraft

A new "webinar" series from NBAA is designed to provide flight department managers and other company executives with the tools and talking points they need to make a strong business case for the use of business aircraft.

Over the years, NBAA has commissioned a number of reports and analyses quantifying the economic value to a company of using business aircraft. But the latest effort is designed specifically to help explain, in simple terms, how an airplane can be essential to helping a company survive, especially in the current, unforgiving economic climate.

As the economy continues to falter, and companies close facilities and lay off workers, some in the news media and elsewhere have stepped up their skepticism about the need for a business to use aircraft to meet their transportation challenges.

Some companies were sharply criticized in recent months for continuing to operate their business airplanes while seeking financial support from the federal government. There was a legislative attempt, which was subsequently defeated, to bar companies receiving funds under the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) from owning or leasing private aircraft.

Justify Your Aircraft

The first of the three webinars focuses on the use of performance metrics to demonstrate the benefits business aviation provides to a company. Topics covered include tracking the reliability of business aircraft; cost comparisons of business airplane travel versus making similar trips on scheduled airlines; time savings for company officials when traveling to remote locations not served by scheduled carriers; the value to a company of bringing customers to its facilities; and having the ability to quickly fly service teams to a customer's location to keep production lines running.

The second presentation offers guidelines on responding to inquiries from the news media, shareholders or elected officials about a company's use of business aircraft, and provides key talking points.

The third webinar addresses some of the issues raised by policymakers who wanted to bar TARP fund recipients from owning or leasing aircraft. Because other public companies may be asked what their policies are for use of business aircraft, this webinar addresses issues such as the personal use of business aircraft, flight department policies and general governance.

NBAA's Mike Nichols, vice president, operations, education & economics, said there is so much content in the presentations that officials decided to divide the material among three sessions rather than offering it all in one day. The first webinar is aimed at flight department managers and chief financial officers. The second session will be of most interest to a company's government affairs and communications personnel, while the third is directed at a company's general counsel and legal staff.

“An airplane can be essential to helping a company survive, especially in the current, unforgiving economic climate.”

The first webinar, "Business Aviation Performance Metrics – Dollars and Sense Reasons Your Business Owns an Aircraft," was presented live in late February. The other segments, "Articulating the Business Case for Business Aviation" and "Best Practices & Policies for the Use of Business Aviation" followed in March. Because the number of participants was limited to approximately 150 in the live webinar format, Nichols said the presentations were recorded and are accessible on demand through NBAA's web site.