2009 Press Releases

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NBAA, GAMA: New Survey Provides Accurate, Clear Picture of Business Aviation

Findings May Surprise Industry Critics

Contacts: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org
Katie Pribyl, GAMA, (202) 393-1500, kpribyl@gama.aero

Washington, DC, October 15, 2009 – The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today published a new survey showing conclusively that some of the recent portrayals of business aviation are inconsistent with the true nature of the industry.

The survey, conducted for GAMA and NBAA by Harris Interactive, depicts an industry in which the typical company 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.

“These findings stand in stark contrast to recent mischaracterizations of business aviation operators,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is, companies of all sizes rely on many different types of aircraft to be more competitive, productive, efficient and successful.”

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen agreed, adding: “Although the manufacture and use of business aircraft contributes significantly to the national economy, the industry is often not well understood. This important study will help people see the real face of business aviation and underscore its importance to citizens, companies and communities across the U.S.”

The survey, based on actual interviews conducted with pilots and passengers involved in business aircraft flights, finds:

  1. Small companies operate the majority of business aircraft. Most companies (59%) operating business aircraft have fewer than 500 employees, and seven in ten have less than 1,000 employees.  
  2. Companies using business aviation typically operate only a single aircraft. The majority (75%) of companies operate only one turbine-powered aircraft.
  3. Managers and other mid-level employees are the typical passengers on business aircraft. Only 22% of passengers on business aircraft are top management (i.e., a company’s Chairman, Board Member, CEO or CFO); the majority are other managers (50%) and or technical, sales or service staff (20%).
  4. Employees use their time onboard company aircraft more effectively and productively than when they are on airline flights. Some passengers even estimate that they are more productive on the company aircraft than they are in the office because of fewer distractions.  
  5. A large majority of flights (80%) are made into secondary airports or airports with infrequent or no scheduled airline service.

The survey was conducted online and by mail within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of GAMA and NBAA between June 1-October 6, 2009 among 350 Pilots, Flight Department Mangers, and Directors of Aviation of business aircraft and 289 passengers of business aircraft. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

NBAA and GAMA commissioned the survey in an ongoing effort to educate policymakers and opinion leaders about the value of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities across the U.S. The two associations’ combined advocacy work takes place through a jointly sponsored campaign, entitled “No Plane No Gain.” To learn more, visit: www.noplanenogain.org.

To review a full copy of the Harris Interactive survey, visit: www.nbaa.org/real-world.

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Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association represents 67 of the world’s leading manufacturers of fixed-wing general aviation airplanes, engines, avionics, and components. In addition to building nearly all of the general aviation airplanes flying today, GAMA member companies also operate aircraft fleets, airport fixed-based operations, pilot training, and maintenance facilities worldwide. To learn more, visit: www.gama.aero

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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