Bucking the prevailing trend that characterizes general aviation as “luxury jets” that are no more than play toys of the economic elite, Forbes Magazine recently published an article titled, “What You Didn’t Know About Private Jets.” Cribbing heavily from statistics published in the National Business Aviation Association’s updated 2021 Business Aviation Fact Book, Forbes contributor Doug Gollan opines of private flying, “The core of the industry has little to do with the clinking of champagne flutes.”
He then pours on the NBAA talking points:
“80 percent of business airplane flights are to and from small communities, with 42 percent into communities with no or infrequent [airline] service—over 5,000 airports just in the U.S., compared to under 500 served by the airlines.
“[Despite the predominant image of the ‘corporate fleet’] 75 percent of companies that use business aircraft have only one airplane.
“Perhaps most surprising is that private jets are not merely a chariot for the CEO. Some 86 percent of flights carry technical, engineering, marketing, sales, middle management personnel, and customers.” And that system seems to work for the bottom line. “Virtually all (98 percent) of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies use business aviation. S&P companies that use business aviation outperform those that don’t by 70 percent and private aviation users outsell non-users by 23 percent.”
Forbes also points out that nearly half of all the companies that use private aviation are not mega-corporations, but businesses that have fewer than 500 employees. “Eighty percent of the 17,000 business aircraft registered in the U.S. have cabins the size of an SUV,” wrote Gollan.
And in addition to leading the pack in green, sustainable fuels, business aviation gives back and “pays it forward,” says Forbes. “Private jets are often first responders in a crisis with 38 percent of pilots saying they flew humanitarian missions in the past year.”