Magazine article Risk Management

The Case for Corporate Aviation

Magazine article Risk Management

The Case for Corporate Aviation

Article excerpt

An important conference on one coast of the country just happens to be the day after a big meeting on the other coast. Attendance by the CEO at both is important for future sales and industry visibility. But with today's airport hassles and flight delays, the schedule looks impossible.

That is, impossible for anyone flying commercial airlines. The corporate jet, however, solves the scheduling dilemma, delivering the CEO to his back-to-back destinations, well-rested and luggage in hand.

The business case for owning and operating a corporate airplane can be documented and weighed--expenses listed on one side of the ledger (the airplane, crew, fuel, facilities, etc.) and benefits on the other (operational efficiency, increased employee productivity, enhanced responsiveness to customers, reduced travel expenses, tax breaks, etc.).

Less obvious is the case for the safety and security of corporate aviation. What risk is a business taking when it decides to give executives the option of skipping the long airport lines, shoes in one hand and plastic bag of shampoo and mouthwash in the other? Without the elaborate screening precautions now commonplace at airport terminals, are corporate flights safe? Or are corporate flyers gaining expediency at the expense of security?

Federal statistics tell a great deal not only about corporate aviation safety, but also about why so many more companies are taking air travel into their own hands. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, flight delays for commercial airlines have increased every year since 2003. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than 27% of flights failed to arrive on time in the first six months of 2007. Four years ago, the figure was only 17%. In June 2007, more than 30% of airplanes were late by an average of 62 minutes.

Late planes, crowded airports, high fares for last-minute flights are all factors that have played a role in the increasing number of businesses turning to corporate aviation. Between 1991 and 2003, the number of companies with corporate planes grew 60% from about 6,500 to more than 10,500, according to the National Business Aircraft Association.

Despite the increasing number of corporate flights, accident statistics show that companies are doing a good job of keeping executives safe. In an analysis of National Transportation Safety Board statistics, Robert E. …

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