All posts tagged 'no plane no gain'

When was the last time you went "Downtown"?

How do you know what's going on downtown?

Save for a helicopter, business aviation happens exclusively at the airport, correct? Wrong. Aviation happens at the airport, business happens everywhere. To be effective, a business aviation manager needs to be wherever the company business is conducted. Having the ear of the CEO is great.  But, the average length of tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is 4.6 years. What happens when there is a new CEO?

No Plane No Gain has great resources and user stories about the value of business aviation.  We need that support, but it is mostly advocacy for business aviation directed to people like the press or local community. But what about within your own company? How is the business aircraft viewed? As an essential business tool or as a royal barge?

A recent client was facing a second round of layoffs. Their sales were down. They operated a business aircraft to access many of their distant operating locations. None of those locations could be easily reached by commercial air. A review of their use of the aircraft revealed that this aircraft was effectively and efficiently being used to manage their operations. But they were acutely aware that if their employees were facing a layoff and saw the senior leadership climbing aboard the corporate jet, that could have a negative impression. The board was concerned and fortunately, I provided them with the report supporting continued use of the business aircraft as the most efficient means of transporting the senior leadership. But still remaining was the optics.

Business aviation needs to be marketed and sold within the companies it serves. One way this can be done is for the aviation manager to be directly involved downtown. That's where the business is. The more successful business aviation departments have that access to the senior leadership through regular contact at the corporate locations. 

In spending time at the corporate headquarters, the aviation manager can be seen as a team member, part of the company. They also have the opportunity to soft-sell the value of the business aircraft to senior leadership, and even their staffers and support employees. The aviation manager can be proactive in anticipating the future air travel needs, and also have more of an impact into the policies and use of the business aircraft. 

I cannot say how many times I have heard this from the department head or Senior VP who has the flight department as part of their responsibilities: "I don't use the aircraft myself, and I really don't understand it. But, the CEO is happy."  Does any aviation manager want their immediate boss not knowing what value they add to the corporation?  CEO's will come and go. Board of Directors get new members with new ideas and opinions. Rather than aviation being politically connected to one CEO, it is far better in the long run to be connected to the corporation's mission and goals.

If you are not there now, start with a review of your corporation's vision and mission statement. Then develop ones for aviation that directly tie into the corporate goals. Run them by your senior leadership and users for inputs. Get this in writing and, along with the rules for use of the aircraft, have it for the CEO or other senior leader signature. Spend time downtown. It may not seem like much at first, but it can pay off for the aviation department, and corporation, in the long run.

 

Golf legend Arnold Palmer awarded at NBAA 2010

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During this week’s NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta, the business-aviation association presented its Meritorious Service Award to golfing legend, businessman and American icon Arnold Palmer.

The highest recognition given by the organization each year, it honors Palmer, a pilot with more than 50 years experience and multiple ratings, for his work with the group and his contributions to the industry. In the video above, mega investor Warren Buffet congratulates Palmer for his work in the NBAA No Plane, No Gain campaign.

Buffet, Palmer and astronaut Neil Armstrong have appeared as representatives for the effort, which seeks to promote the advantages of business aviation.

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 “It is Arnold Palmer’s service to the industry that is the reason we are presenting him with the Meritorious Service Award today,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen during the ceremony. “Arnold Palmer has been willing to use his good name to promote business aviation at a time when we needed it most.”

Palmer said in his remarks that the day prior he flew from Orlando to Charlotte to conduct some business and returned in time to be in his Florida office by early afternoon.

 “As a young boy I dreamed of flying, and aviation has allowed me to visit places all over the world and spend extra time with my family,” Palmer said. “I wouldn’t be here today without my airplane.”

Daviator versus Goliath

The epic battle waged this past fall between the general aviation community and lawmakers over user fees was re-examined today in an article by GlobalAir.com contributer and Corporate Flight Management, Inc., CEO Allen Howell.

On his blog, PlaneConversations.com, Howell recounts the efforts of the Airline Transport Association and others, via mainstream media, to shift public perception of general aviation to that of, "fat cats who ride around in big corporate jets wallowing in corporate excess while asking for government bailouts."

Most of us thought it to be a losing battle but, still, none of us would go down without a fight. I can’t speak for the organizations that represent us, but at the time I think they probably saw the battle as an uphill fight. The organizations that supported our interests seemed to be behind the power curve and lacked the money to work the Hill the old fashioned way.  

From this recent win for the little guy, Howell says the term 'We the People' may have new meaning in today's political climate.

Read the full story here.

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