Can You Justify Your Business Aircraft?

Most of us in our workday make use of technologies like cell phones and computers. Yes, sometimes we use those devices for personal tasks, but it is rare that you have to justify their expenses. Not so with the business airplane. The aircraft is a relatively large “target” used by few in the company. Any non-business use can easily be amplified and the user, vilified. Unless you own both the company and the aircraft (how sweet), someone will always be looking at the business aircraft as a perk, not as a tool.

Can you justify your aircraft?

A rational, well thought out aircraft justification is a necessity. It should be clear to everyone in your company that the business aircraft is an essential business tool. Even if you do won the company! You should be able to say, "Yes, our aircraft is an essential business tool without which our company would be a competitive disadvantage in today's rapidly changing economic environment." And prove it, too.

There are many tangible benefits to having an aircraft. Which of these apply to your use of the aircraft?

Reduced Travel Time
Flexibility and Reliability of Operations
Productivity while traveling
Ability to support your customers in an effective manner
Ability to attract and retain key personnel

Do you have a document outlining why you need an aircraft and why you chose the aircraft that you have? The justification outlining the reasons for your aircraft's (and your job's) existence doesn't need to be a 300-page dissertation. In fact, a paragraph or two signed by the CEO is much more powerful!

Do you maintain documentation as to the effectiveness of your aircraft in the accomplishment of the company's business objectives? Reduced travel time, reduced wear and tear, increased efficiency? Document it. Every time the aircraft has made a positive impact, you need to document it. So when the current chairperson retires or moves on, you can brief the incoming chair with solid facts.

You also need to document and manage your operating costs. Are you operating as cost-effective as you can? Do you understand the nature and behavior of your costs? Do you have sufficient details in your costs to enable you to manage them?

If the mission of your company aircraft doesn't fit in with the overall focus of the company, then you may have a problem. If your aircraft supports the corporate mission, then life is good. Ask the questions and find out the answers.