Back in the day, those of us who sold airplanes and/or charter loved Business & Commercial Aviation’s (BCA) annual report on the Fortune 500. We wanted to see how many of the 500 companies operated business aircraft, and how they compared against those companies that didn’t. The report was good for general aviation. It disclosed that those of the 500 who operated business aircraft clearly outperformed those who didn’t. This was true in a long list of measurements.
One I remember was that companies operating aircraft made more income per employee than companies that didn’t.
I was speaking at the time (for free) to civic clubs. That report impressed more business people than anything else I could say. They asked questions. One of the many FAQs was along the lines of, “You mean if I buy an airplane from you my company will do better overnight?” It was worth a good laugh when I looked the questioner square in the eye and said, “Absolutely.”
When the laughter died, I’d say “Actually, we can’t say that. But it does seem obvious that these best-performing companies are run by excellent managers, and those managers believe that using business aircraft provides profitable benefits. In fact, Malcolm Forbes calls his business aircraft ‘Capitalist Tool.’ But let me point out that you don’t have to buy an aircraft to get those benefits. Just call and let us explain how charter service can make a profit for you.”
That story worked so well that it was included in a series of 12 letters that I wrote for the National Air Transportation Association as a marketing program in the mid-1980s.
Well, guess what? Recently I learned from the National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association that a new study is available, this time of the Standard & Poor’s 500 for the years 2003 through 2008. The study was done by NEXA, with support from sponsors including many airframe manufacturers and others interested in business aviation. Google NEXA, NBAA, or GAMA for information on how to get a free copy.
The guvmint says corporate leaders should just ride the airlines. The facts show that management of the best of the best companies disagree. This was true during the 1970s and is true today. Yet our guvmint says that management is wrong. Who ya gonna believe?
NBAA has a summary of the study, and it illustrates that S&P 500 businesses which use business aviation shine when it comes to performance. It surely casts new light on recent disparagement of business aviation by the guvmint.
Every airport, every FBO, indeed every person and company with an interest in business aviation should spread this report at every opportunity. It’s important for all of us.