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Letter to USA Today in Response to "Despite huge salaries, CEOs cling to their perks"

USA Today
Attn: Letters Editor
7950 Jones Branch Road
McLean, VA 22108-0605

April 13, 2011

To the Editor:

Among your characterizations about use of company airplanes in a recent article ("Despite huge salaries, CEOs cling to their perks," Apr. 12), you failed to mention several important facts. First, a business airplane is an essential tool that helps achieve competitive advantage in tough economic times by extending employee productivity and efficiency. Given the 24X7 nature of senior-level positions, it is reasonable that these managers are conducting company business in-flight, while reporting the use of aircraft as personal to meet federal requirements.

Among the many considerations boards of directors weigh in deciding whether to allow, or even require, senior managers to use company aircraft for all air travel: personal safety and security issues; the need to have key personnel quickly available, even if time off must be disrupted; and the business decision to include personal use of an airplane as part of compensation. For publicly traded companies, these decisions are reported in proxies and personal use is disclosed as well.

Finally, it is worth noting that during the recession, many companies reduced travel, on airlines as well as company aircraft, and now that the economy is reviving, airline passenger loads and business aviation flight hours are beginning to increase, which should be an encouraging sign to all of us.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association