Cessna Fights Public Perception Of Bizjets

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In an aggressive new advertising campaign, Cessna is urging the captains of industry to stay the course and keep their business jets (or buy new ones) in the face of public backlash. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cessna, which has lost a huge amount of business in the last two months, in part to public perception of business aircraft as perks, is committing half its ad budget to the campaign. The ads recommend the business community show similar grit. "Timidity didn't get you this far. Why put it in your business plan now?" the ads read and suggest that rather than abandon corporate aviation that companies should do it more efficiently. "We think it's time the other side of the story be told, and that support be given to those businesses with the good judgment and courage to use business aviation to not only help their businesses survive the current financial crisis, but more quickly forge a path toward an economic upturn," CEO Jack Pelton told WSJ.

Although the economic downturn is blamed for much of the difficulties being experienced by airplane manufacturers, backlash to the Big Three automakers use of separate private aircraft to attend the same meeting in Washington to ask for federal funding created a perception that's been hard to shake. The WSJ says Cessna is so far standing alone in this posture although other business aviation leaders are expressing similar sentiments in interviews. Cessna says in the ads that executives that "blink" and get rid of corporate aircraft will be losers in the long run. "One thing is certain: true visionaries will continue to fly," the ads say.