It may be surprising to many, but business aviation continues to grow and expand despite the rising costs of fuel. Business aviation is that segment of general aviation which caters to companies who are growing and need access to more and more markets as the world economy flattens. Today there is competition in almost every business from anywhere int the world. The advent of the internet has made competition for almost any business truly global when consumers can choose products from anywhere in the world based upon form, function and price. As a result companies need to be more innovative and competitive, and one way to accomplish this is to become global companies themselves. While many programs like Go-To-Meeting and WebEx provide the ability to conduct business over the internet just as though parties a world apart are in the same room, face to face meetings are still the most important way for businesses to make deals with their partners on the other side of the world. Until you can look your partners in the eye and shake their hand you can never be sure whether you have made a good deal or not. I live near Lansing, Michigan and just yesterday our airport became the Capital Region International Airport allowing aircraft to land and deplane in Lansing, Michigan when returning from foreign countries. One of the companies based in Lansing flies back and forth to London, England on a regular basis and this change will not only save the company time but also fuel for their jet by eliminating the need to land at an international airport in the U.S. before returning to their home base in Michigan. More importantly owner-operators of business aircraft have discovered that the use of a business aircraft extends their reach and saves significant time since the events of 9/11 combined with the consolidation of airlines and the reorganization of airline services to operate through hubs. If you have
traveled anywhere on the airlines within the last few years you realize that to go anywhere on the airlines is an all-day affair. And, in business, time is money. This has been great for some aircraft manufacturers who build aircraft like the Cessna 400 and Epic LT which are manufactured in Bend, OR. Rick Schrameck, president and chief executive officer of Epic in Bend said recently that ""It's kind of simple, The customers that buy our planes are owner-operators, they use the planes for their own personal use. The people that can spend $1 million to $2.5 million for their own personal transportation are generally not affected dramatically, their lifestyle is not affected dramatically by the fluctuations in the economy."
And many larger companies are forming or expanding their own flight departments, or joining operations like NetJets and Flight Options to extend the reach of their operations across the globe. Companies like Gulfstream and Cessna have backlogs of orders extending out for years, so business aviation will continue to grow for some time yet. Until next time keep your wings straight and level, Hersch! JetAviator7