Using time productively is not a luxury.  It’s a necessity. What is wrong with a little luxury? I’m not talking about fine foods and decor. Our firm is assisting a Fortune 500 company evaluate its flight department and the use of Business Aviation. We are evaluating their current aircraft with a look toward the future. Several of the company’s main operating locations are off  the airline-beaten path.  Management puts the corporation’s business jet to good use and is examining whether a newer model would be more appropriate to their needs going forward.   There are many trips just between domestic plant and customer sites as well as market development and sales-related efforts trips throughout the US.

As part of the evaluation process I sat down and interviewed key management including the CEO, CFO, heads of their major divisions, and several Senior VPs. Three consistent themes emerged: There are three things consistent among them:

  1.  They are extremely happy with the high quality service they receive get from their in-house flight department.
  2.  They can’t imagine doing what they have to do without the time-efficiency and flexibility provided by of the aircraft.
  3. They almost feel guilty for using the company jet.

The first two thoughts I hear time and time again.  But I have a difficult time understanding the third comment. The guilt goes something like this:

  • “I feel guilty at how much better travel is on the company jet compared to the airlines.”

The people who make these comments are responsible for the financial success of their company. They see the responsibility to the employees to be leaders and to create jobs. They have a fiduciary duty to protect the shareholders and to grow the investment that equity holders have made in the company. They appreciate the responsibility to their families to be a good spouse, a good parent, and yet still be a good business leader. These people are focused on what makes a company successful.

No Reason for Guilt

What people who use Business Aviation corporate aviation have found is the ultimate in luxury – Time.

Getting and keeping customers takes time. People who care show up in person.  More can get done in a face-to-face meeting than in a dozen conference calls. Travel is part of the process, but not the goal. The corporate aircraft enables travel on the most efficient schedule for the executive.  Airline schedules are designed to satisfy demand between major city pairs, using a frequency that fits within the commercial carrier’s route structure., not the general public nor the airline.

Shareholder Value 

Much of an executive’s compensation depends upon the company’s bottom-line performance. Profitability cannot be achieved while waiting in line. Company personnel should be making money, not making alternate travel plans after the meeting runs late.

The corporate aircraft is not a low- cost item in the budget. Neither is payroll. The value of Business Aviation lies in enabling the executives, the management team, the sales professionals, the engineers and service teams to fully realize their potential, and thus to have a positive impact on the productivity and of profitability of the company.

Time is the world’s most precious resource. You can buy luxurious cars, fine watches, and beautiful homes. But you cannot buy back time wasted. It is gone. The corporate aircraft’s ultimate luxury is enabling the unrelenting passage of time to be spent wisely, productively, efficiently.

Bottom-line–there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about using a business aircraft to save time.  Time used wisely means more returns for shareholders, more jobs for the community, and more time with your family.

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