By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief
As the leadership and membership of the National Business Aviation Association talked about the progress being made in fighting the stigma of business aircraft use, the rest of the world was heaping scorn on their use by executives of banks that received federal bailouts. Business jet (usually termed private jet) use by the bankers was described by the Washington Post as the number one perk handed out to execs in lieu of bonuses that the feds are vigorously discouraging the banks from issuing with taxpayer money. But the stigma of business aircraft use has spread far beyond the boardrooms in New York, as country music star Garth Brooks found out on Tuesday.
Brooks retired from touring and concerts nine years ago to be a day-to-day dad to his three daughters. In an interview with CNN, Brooks explained that the kids are older now (13-17), but he still wants to be with them on the farm in Owasso, Okla., so when Las Vegas hotel owner Steve Wynn threw in free use of a Bombardier Challenger for the commute to the weekend shows, Brooks picked up his guitar. The aircraft gets him to and from Vegas in about two hours, enabling him to be home during the week and get to the Friday-to-Sunday shows. And for Brooks, the aircraft is not a perk but the reason the deal works in the first place, which CNN reported this way. "I don't know anything about jets," Brooks downplayed with a shrug. "It's got a cool interior, cool paint job I don't know. But it gets me here [to Vegas], and it gets me home to see my girls. And so, in that case, it's fabulous."