J.D. Power and Associates: Bizjet Owners Mostly Satisfied

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It had to happen sooner or later: J.D. Power and Associates, the customer satisfaction and consumer ratings firm has branched out into the business aviation market, last week publishing results from its first-ever survey of aircraft owners and operators. The company's inaugural study examined owners' and operators' overall satisfaction with fixed-wing, turbine-powered and pressurized-cabin aircraft produced within the past 20 years and focused on airframes, avionics and powerplants. Overall -- and unsurprisingly -- J.D. Power said its study found that airframe and avionics are "critical in providing business aircraft owners and operators with a positive ownership experience." When considering airframes, the study found overall satisfaction is based on maintenance; flight performance; warranty; flight deck; exterior; interior; and major systems. According to the research company, "Overall satisfaction with the aircraft ownership experience is primarily driven by the airframe, which represents 52 percent of the satisfaction index."

When considering avionics, J.D. Power said its study found the onboard weather radar, electronic displays and flight management systems have the largest impact on customer satisfaction with avionics quality. "As avionics capabilities become more advanced, business aircraft owners and operators are demanding higher standards for performance, reliability and product support," said Jim Gaz, senior director of the travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "They need near-perfect dispatch reliability to get their passengers to business appointments safely, and on time." Meanwhile, engine quality had the most significant impact on customer satisfaction, the company said, with the length of time between engine inspections largely driving customer satisfaction. J.D. Power's 2007 Business Aviation Satisfaction Study was based on responses from more than 600 owners, operators and flight department managers collected between August and November 2006. The study was conducted in association with Aviation Week’s Business & Commercial Aviation magazine. J.D. Power and Associates and Aviation Week are business units of The McGraw-Hill Companies.