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Business Aviation is Back on the Rise

Riding out the turbulence of 2008’s U.S. recession was no easy trick, but the business aviation sector has made a steady comeback thanks to options for every flier’s needs.

In business, air travel is a basic necessity. Whether it’s to spend face-time with clients or suppliers or conduct town halls with employees and conferences with investors, most of today’s executives spend a fair amount of time on the road—or rather in the air. At the same time, using commercial aviation to get from point A to point B can be a chancy, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” proposition. What’s more, it’s generally an experience cursed with no privacy, little comfort or productivity, and lots of nuisances.

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Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuite

That fundamental truth is at the heart of the appeal of private aviation, says Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuite. “The best sales and marketing tool for business aviation is commercial aviation,” he notes. “Planes are packed and airports are swollen with travelers, so people are voting with their feet. Most major commercial aviation carriers don’t have an interest in the consumer experience.”

Even platinum fliers find themselves jostling through packed airports and security checkpoints, waiting patiently at gates and taxiing through Dante’s rings of hell on the tarmac before ever getting airborne. “Existing and potential clients continue to say the same thing,” says Patrick Gallagher, executive vice president of sales and marketing for NetJets. “They want control over their schedules, unlimited access to airports and routes and the ability to go where they want when they want.”

Jet Service Providers“First-class just means a shorter line, and the airport experience is the same,” agrees Wilcox, who points out that with careful planning private aviation can actually be just as economical. “Business travelers should think about where they need to go, and how they want to spend their time. If you have 3-4 people that need to go to a certain place, using business aviation definitely competes against commercial travel on a dollar-to-dollar basis.”

About Michael Gelfand