Ask any major aircraft manufacturer -- in fact ask even the smaller players. A business jet is a tool, a cost-saver, and a deal closer. Add to that a corporate image enhancer.
A business jet symbolizes more than a frill or luxury. It's a "must-have" for companies who live and negotiate on the fast lane. And when we say fast lane, we don't mean the 500 or so runways all across the United States. We mean the 5,000 airport locations -- remote and urban -- that welcome business jets every single hour of a working day.
When aircraft builders first started out, they went out to explore the skies in efforts to help government and military operations in defense and defense-related activities. From emergency airlifts to combat training and engineering resources, manufacturers thrived in a market where there was little competition. For as long as government needed them, there was every reason to remain in the business.
Government and military operations are stronger than ever, making demands and inking orders that manufacturers can hardly keep up with. And as most endeavors typically tend to take an evolutionary path, someone came up with the idea that there was another market that can be tapped and allocate capital to: the business executive charter.
Today, companies in the competitive arena of domestic and international trade are eying the business jet as a major contributing factor to success. Think of the following very visible advantages:
- Jets that are built to FAA standards and beyond, boasting of sophisticated engineering and excellent craftsmanship,
- No waiting-in-line and no check-in points. You walk straight from your limo to the well-appointed cabin,
- A nationally-certified pilot and experienced crew exclusively at your disposal,
- Communications systems integrated into the business jet that make you feel youíre in your own boardroom,
- Ability to reach 3-4 domestic locations in one day. Speed, comfort, and convenience are no longer available on commercial travel. For executives with nerve-wracking schedules, the business jet has taken over,
- Accessibility to over 5,000 airports to pick from, versus the 500 or so that commercial flights use,
- And the factors that you canít measure in dollars: top of the line comfort, unheard of convenience in the mass flying market, and auxiliary services at your finger tips (ground transportation, exclusive catering, hotel accommodation),
Bearing in mind the rising costs of fuel, commercial airlines have scaled back on the number of flights and routes, significantly hampered by the burden of gas prices. This is where the business jet can fill the gap, and the fuel crisis makes the above advantages even more crystal-clear.
Manufacturers have successfully identified profitable market segments in the business jet industry. It is a reference point which they use when they build their planes. They know which planes are the favorite of majority of executives (four-seater jets versus six-seater ones) and what speed and range are ideal for a specific business need. The mid-size jet, according to builders, seems to be a favorite of many.
The business jet -- owing to its inherent exclusivity in terms of providing a service Ė has stolen the limelight of the travel industry since the September 11 attacks. The issue of security has taken front seat, and the intense desire for confidentiality is a predominant feature. These qualities are what make the business jet very much a part of the fast-paced, frequently-harassed corporate environment -- an environment consisting of hard-driving and demanding executives who wonít bat an eyelash about spending a fortune to gain minutes and hours in a working day.
As one writer so aptly put it, a business jetís usefulness is difficult to measure. When the executive vice president of a high profile entity has to make a mad dash for Indianapolis to deliver a motivating speech or inspect the facilities and inventory of a supplier, these are occasions where the phone or email just wonít cut it.