formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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February 21, 2012 The Business Advantage

The Liberty Gazette
February 21, 2012
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: You often read here about fun places we fly, or people using airplanes for charity or sport, or about significant historical events in which flying is the focus, and it has always been with the idea of showing how aviation benefits us all. Yes, there is the fun part, but aviation is also an efficient and productive means of transportation. That’s why the most successful businesses use business aircraft.

Unfortunately, business aviation has been burdened with an unrealistic image, painted as luxurious, excessive and unnecessary in mainstream media. Overcoming public misconceptions has become essential work for business owners, airports, and the aviation industry as a whole. But, says Paula Williams of Aviation Business Consultants, “companies willing to embrace the controversy will find ways to weather the storms that keep the competition in the hangar.”

Mike: The efficiency and extended range of reachability is attractive: being able to conduct business in three cities in one day and return home in time to get enough rest to go out and do it again the next day. For example, an electrician from out of town who flies in to the Liberty airport to work here in Liberty. Business owners, consultants, engineers, technicians, sales representatives, and many others make use of the Liberty Airport to conduct business. These are the people who keep our country moving. These are the people who make the best use of their time, increasing their efficiency and profitability. Deals may be made on a golf course, but the real work is done in the office, and business aircraft often serve as airborne offices. When moving from one meeting to the next, business can be conducted en route in a confidential environment.

The fact is, Liberty Municipal Airport, like over 5,000 similar airports throughout the country, multiplies the number of places one can travel in a small plane over airlines by a factor of nearly 10. Airlines only serve about 600 U.S. airports and you have to allot time for the drive, “security” screening, loading, and lack of privacy, making airline travel inefficient and less profitable for many businesses when compared with point-to-point travel with their own aircraft. The businessperson pilot who has access to any of the other 8,000+ private landing facilities increases efficiency that much more.

Linda: In their report, “Business Aviation: An Enterprise Value Perspective” (2009), NEXA Advisors concluded that: for the largest public companies in America, those that use business aircraft consistently outperform those that do not; business aviation provides a unique competitive benefit to America’s businesses, both nationally and internationally, expressed through greater shareholder and enterprise value; and business aircraft users are overwhelmingly represented among the most innovative, most admired, best brands, and best places to work. They dominate the list of those companies strongest in corporate governance and responsibility.

NEXA’s further studies of small and medium-sized businesses (2010) examined key drivers of enterprise value, revenue growth, profit growth, and asset efficiency. Their analysis showed that likewise among smaller companies those that use business aviation consistently outperform non-users. In other words, says NEXA, “the use of a business aircraft is a sign of a well-managed company.”

Mike: The competitive edge would not be possible without the use of personal and company-owned aircraft, and without the essential network of airports. We’ll examine that network next week. Till then, blue skies.

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