The Enlightened Business Traveler
Gaining the Upper Hand in a Down Economy
Written and Produced by Mark Patiky
Tens of thousands of businesses and individuals across the nation have discovered the incredible benefits of business aviation. Amazingly, you don’t have to own a business aircraft to gain all the advantages. Thousands of companies and individuals own fractional shares or prepaid jet cards, and many more enjoy the freedom of on-demand charter on any given day. With so many options available, business aircraft have leveled the flying field and competitive environment for businesses of all sizes.
The Enlightened Business Traveler will help you navigate the wide range of business aircraft types and the diversity of access options. You’ll hear from peers across industries that have relied on business aviation to start and grow their businesses, retain employees and generate profits in any economic climate. Read on and see how this strategic tool can help you make the most of this new world of opportunity.
Not a Convenience—A Necessity
“As the market transitions, you have to be there and be on top of it,” says David Morgan, chief executive officer and founder of D.W. Morgan Company. “While the rest of the business world was retreating last year, we doubled our revenues while preserving our margins. It was a smart use of time and travel.” So was his access to a business jet.
For years, commercial airlines dictated where and when you could do business. Walter Curt, founder of Shenandoah Electronic Intelligence Inc., knows this firsthand. From his rural Virginia location more than two hours from the nearest airline terminal, company growth might have been a major challenge. But with his Cessna Citation Bravo, he could meet in person with clients within an hour or two, allowing him to more effectively build trust and enduring business relationships.
Those are vital factors in the current economy. “People do business with people. And if you build great relationships based on high trust and collaboration, you’re going to have a better business relationship. You can’t do that over the phone and through e-mail like you can face-to-face,” emphasizes Charles S. Luck, president and chief executive officer of Luck Stone Corporation.
“Our plane is a very important tool for us,” says a property developer based in the rural Carolinas. “Even as a small developer, we can compete effectively with the big guys.”
The president of a national clothing retailer agrees: With easy access using his Avantair fractional share, he says, “I make deals that I probably wouldn’t have made before, because we can make a decision right now. Having the plane is not a convenience, it’s a necessity.”
“Companies are getting back to business. They are flying more and they are
pursuing business opportunities in anticipation of the economy improving.
We are seeing that consistently across the country.”
Robert Knebel, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Flexjet
FLIGHT LOG >> The Duchossois Group, Inc.
An Invaluable Tool Produces Big Results
In the late 1960s, a young golfer named Arnold Palmer encouraged Richard Duchossois to buy a small plane for business travel. For Duchossois, it was like hitting a hole in one.
The Duchossois Group, a portfolio of family-owned diversified companies headquartered in Elmhurst, Ill., is in the business of creating lifestyle improvements for home and office, from electrical products to wireless communications. Today, with customers and suppliers across the globe, Duchossois’ company planes are some of its most valued assets. “It is an absolute essential,” says Duchossois of his Dassault Falcon 2000EX. He’ll soon add a new trijet large-cabin Falcon 7X with 6,800-sm range to the fleet, extending the company’s nonstop reach to China, Australia and Europe.
“It’s a business tool, as vital as any tool in the plant. We would really be lost without it,” he says. “You can go anyplace in this country and return in one day. We will have a meeting, get on the airplane and come back. Aloft, we’re discussing and reviewing. It’s time gained,” he explains.
Every day the Falcon 2000EX transports his executive team or carries engineers, researchers and technicians to customer sites, often stopping at multiple locations. It’s not only fast, it’s also efficient, he says, underscoring low maintenance and lower operating costs. It means Duchossois can cover more places with fewer staff.
“How do you value executive time?” asks Duchossois. “What value do you put on the decisions these people make day in and day out? It’s not a question of ‘Can you afford a company plane?’” he says. “We can’t afford not to have one.”
For thousands of owners and users, business aircraft not only save time, they create it. En route, ideas are exchanged, presentations enhanced and meetings conducted more efficiently.
“If you need to visit three customers, two plants, a group of employees and a couple of prospective customers this week and still deal with everything else, you have a choice: Do those trips over three weeks traveling commercially, or do them in four days, which is the reality of business aviation,” says NetJets Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Sokol.
At the same time, acquiring business aircraft benefits has never been easier. An ever-growing selection of aircraft and options provides the right choice to fit virtually any mission and budget.
FLIGHT LOG >> Promega Corporation
The Ultimate Time-Saver
When he was first building his business, Bill Linton leveraged a partnership in a small plane to visit customers and companies across the Midwest. Today, business aviation figures prominently in his biotech company’s mission. His Madison, Wis.-based Promega Corporation, which supports life sciences research and drug discovery, has two branch locations in California and major clients in St. Louis, Indianapolis and along the East Coast.
Linton figured a Cessna Citation Mustang would make the most sense as a productivity tool for management, engineers, scientists and production staff. “It was priced at a level that would get us into the game, and it is efficient to operate,” he says.
Has it paid off? “It’s just a tremendously efficient way to travel,” says Linton. Often, as many as four people will make two or three client visits in a single day. “My ability to utilize staff time effectively has increased exponentially,” says Linton. “If you take four people on a typical trip, we’re generally saving about six hours per person each way. That’s 48 hours of time saved using our plane versus commercial air travel.” Since he also saves on hotel costs and meals, the benefits are multifold—and when he can get his people home with their families at night, he gains even more. Equally important, the group arrives refreshed, engaged and relaxed, and that means they can be on top of their game.
The enhanced travel flexibility means more of Linton’s key decision makers can visit valuable customers more frequently, and often outside consultants and attorneys can join their flights, improving the quality of the meeting. For Promega, that translates to exceptional client relationships and a significant increase in business.
“Our aircraft is a business tool, as vital as any tool in the plant. We would really be lost
without it. You can go anyplace in this country and return in one day. It’s time gained.”
Richard Duchossois, Founder and Chairman, The Duchossois Group, Inc.
FLIGHT LOG >> Luck Stone Corporation
Creating Opportunity in a Difficult Economy
It took a lot more than good fortune to transform Manakin, Va.-based Luck Stone Corporation into one of the nation’s largest family-owned stone construction products companies, says Charles Luck IV, president and chief executive officer. He underscores that business aviation is the cornerstone of the company’s success, and Luck Stone’s Beechcraft King Air 350 turboprop plays a vital role.
With most of Luck Stone’s customers and vendors located east of the Mississippi, the turboprop King Air is the perfect fit. It carries more passengers farther on less fuel than a small jet and deftly handles shorter runways at the smaller airports common to most Luck Stone destinations.
The downturn in the economy has posed a challenge, Luck acknowledges: “Everyone feels pressure to cut back,” but there are still business opportunities in slow times and that actually increase the demand for the company plane. “This is the time to get out in the marketplace,” he says. On any trip, as many as nine seats can be filled with buyers, product designers or a plant manager and staff. “You’ve got people that can be much more productive,” he says, “and you’re using the right tool to allow them to do so.”
And with five aboard, he adds, the cost of flying is less than what their collective commercial airline fares would cost. But that’s not the concern: “Think about the benefit,” he says. “You’ve got to look at the opportunity.” With the company airplane, he emphasizes, “We are able to retain more employees, keep sales higher and minimize losses in a slow period. You’ve got to take advantage of all of the tools to maximize your profitability, and that means using that airplane to do exactly that.”
For those who prefer to focus on time in the air without ownership responsibilities, a fractional share or a jet card can be just the ticket. Either way, you gain complete whole-aircraft ownership advantages, plus a great deal more: You can have your aircraft wherever and whenever you want it, or use of multiple aircraft simultaneously if required.
NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway company, pioneered fractional ownership and remains the largest provider with the broadest global coverage and the most diverse fleet of aircraft and owners. Its global fleet boasts over 800 jets representing 13 different aircraft types, from small-cabin Cessna jets to globe-spanning ultra-long-range Gulfstream aircraft.
As the only global fractional provider with independent operations in the U.S., Europe and an affiliation in the Middle East, NetJets is uniquely equipped to accommodate today’s global businesses. NetJets’ David Sokol notes that a growing number of U.S. companies are taking advantage of the seamless coordination. “Last year, we connected over 40,000 city pairs for our owners,” he says.
Another way to access NetJets service in the U.S. is through the Marquis Jet Card, which provides NetJets aircraft and advantages 25 hours at a time. Jet cards are available in many aircraft types, and combo cards enable cardholders to split hours between two different aircraft models. In Europe, jet cards are available directly from NetJets.
Fractional share owner John Goff emphasizes that NetJets means a great deal more than travel flexibility. When an unexpected family medical crisis arose overseas, Goff could access essential health and medical information immediately through NetJets’ collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. All NetJets U.S. owners have similar access to worldwide medical expertise and support from the Mayo Clinic at any time.
FLIGHT LOG >> Goff Capital Partners, L.P.
Capitalizing on Face-to-Face Relationships
As chairman and chief executive officer of Goff Capital Partners, L.P., based in Fort Worth, Tex., John Goff concentrates on oil, gas and real estate investments; manages a private equity partnership; runs the Goff Family Foundation; and still spends quality time with his family.
“The biggest stress in my life is lack of time,” he says. But Goff has found a way to beat the clock. His two NetJets fractional shares afford him the convenience and travel flexibility he needs to maintain a full professional and personal schedule. “Having access to an aircraft is one way you can buy more time,” he says, “and it enables me to use the time I have more efficiently.”
Goff tried running his own flight operation, but he attests that NetJets provides advantages outright ownership can’t match. Whether he’s traveling across the nation or within Texas, the ability to access either of his aircraft plus any others in the NetJets fleet allows him to customize each trip.
When opportunities in a dynamic market arise, Goff needs to react quickly: “I am more willing to be there, and there’s nothing like physically being there when you’re working on a business deal.” The ability to discuss confidential negotiation strategy and evaluate opportunities in-flight with key associates is an invaluable advantage—and so is the ability to be home with his family at night. That’s a return no investor could dismiss.
Backed by global aerospace giant Bombardier, Flexjet offers fractional shares in a Bombardier-exclusive fleet, including the Learjet 40XR, 45XR and 60XR; the new super-midsize Challenger 300; and the long-range, wide-body intercontinental Challenger 605, with seating for up to 12. Flexjet also offers a wide array of custom-designed business aviation solutions such as on-demand charter, jet cards and whole-aircraft management.
Known for program innovations, Flexjet offers added flexibility with “Versatility Plus.” Owners fine-tune their usage through an exchange pool and buy or sell up to 25% of their allocated hours annually. “AnyTime Options” allows extended guaranteed access to larger or smaller aircraft or multiple aircraft in the same day. And owners with two or more fractional shares can qualify for round-trip pricing discounts of up to 15%.
Realizing that people’s needs change, Flexjet offers its two- to five-year “WalkAway Lease” program, with the opportunity to exit the plan after 90 days. For those with limited or sporadic travel requirements, the “travel-by-the-hour” Flexjet 25 Jet Card is available in five aircraft types and four pricing options, with non-peak travel cost reductions.
Equally innovative, the “Flexjet One” program allows whole-aircraft owners to select from five Bombardier jets, and Flexjet handles all management responsibilities. Owners can fly as much as they like and gain revenue from available hours by leasing them back to Flexjet at highly attractive rates.
For Flexjet fractional and Flexjet 25 card owners traveling internationally, Flexjet’s strategic alliance with European-based VistaJet offers guaranteed availability of any aircraft in VistaJet’s wholly owned Bombardier fleet. Owners exchange available hours at a set interchange rate or pay preferred rates without impacting program hours. VistaJet aircraft are also available in the Middle East and Asia.
FLIGHT LOG >> D.W. Morgan Company
Keeping Ahead of the Competition
Twenty years after its beginnings in Pleasanton, Calif., D.W. Morgan Company is considered one of the nation’s most trusted and fastest-growing supply consulting, logistics and transportation management firms. Founder and Chief Executive Officer David Morgan attributes his success in part to the use of business aircraft.
“Change brings opportunity,” says Morgan. “You talk about a downturn, but as the market transitions, you have to be there to be on top of it. Business aviation helps keep our executive and operations teams everywhere we need to be in order to ensure our clients’ success.”
The company owns fractional shares in a Flexjet Learjet 60 and a Challenger 604, and, through Versatility Plus, it buys additional time in a Challenger 300. Morgan also uses a Flexjet 25 Card in a Learjet 40. The planes regularly allow him to close millions of dollars in business. “More complexity, more places and less time put a premium on time and efficiency,” he explains. “We are able to get into places quicker than our competitors. We’re able to move with unparalleled speed and efficiency, so we can be working the entire supply chain making multiple stops in a day while our competitors are stuck waiting for their luggage.”
CitationAir, wholly owned by Cessna Aircraft, has carved a niche in the fractional ownership market by focusing on a select group of small to midsize affordable and fuel-efficient Cessna jets, such as the Citation CJ3, the midsize XLS and the Sovereign, with its spacious, stand-up cabin. Now the company offers a full menu of services that includes jet cards, aircraft management and customized support for in-house corporate flight operations.
Fractional buyers pick from four convenient pricing packages depending on the number of peak travel days required. Fewer peak travel days means greater savings. CitationAir simplifies budgeting by blending management fees and hourly costs into a single annual or monthly payment plan. With “Jaunt,” owners can right-size their needs by purchasing incremental flight hours at attractive rates in the same or any fleet aircraft.
With CitationAir’s Jet Card, buyers prepay for travel with either an aircraft-specific card or a fleet card, at slightly higher hourly rates, which they can use for any fleet aircraft, anytime. Although there is no time limit on usage, fixed hourly rates are subject to annual revaluation.
The new “Jet Management” program is attracting many new Cessna whole-aircraft buyers who are looking to shift management to a professional organization. Through the program, customers also are guaranteed availability of any CitationAir fleet aircraft. If whole-aircraft owners want to generate revenue on their airplane, explains CitationAir Chief Executive Officer Steve O’Neill, it can be utilized to meet Jet Card demand.
Another new program, “Corporate Solutions,” helps corporate flight departments requiring additional aircraft. “Just sign and fly,” says O’Neill. With no long-term commitments or prepayments, companies are billed at preset fixed hourly rates, and only when they need the service.
FLIGHT LOG >> Newport Oncology and
Healthcare, Inc. (NOAH)
Unparalleled Access to Remote Opportunities
NOAH’s key offices in Monterey and Rancho Mirage, Calif., are difficult to reach by commercial airlines, but NOAH Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer Joshua Atiba, M.D., was challenged more by his clients’ locations. Atiba and his team provide specialized healthcare services to prisoners in federal and state facilities throughout California, Arizona, Florida, the Midwest and the Northeast.
Taking medical care to prisoners is safer, more efficient and less costly than transporting prisoners to specialist hospitals. Atiba’s quandary was that most lockups are in remote areas. Now he travels door-to-door on most trips in about an hour with his CitationAir jet, visiting multiple locations with ease. He’s also been able to set up new clinics in many more locations. Because prison visits must be scheduled in advance, he can preplan around peak travel days and save with CitationAir’s flexible pricing schedule.
Starting first with a Jet Card, Atiba graduated to a fractional share, which multiplied his efficiency, he says: “You could not do what I’m doing now without a business jet.” And the Jet Card brings other far-reaching benefits beyond mere travel efficiency: “It’s good for business. It’s good for the body. It’s good for the spirit. And your team is ready to work when it arrives.”
Truly unique, Avantair is the exclusive provider of fractional shares in the fuel-efficient Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop. The company skyrocketed to success with its single-airplane approach, making fractional ownership more practical and affordable.
With its forward-wing and rearward-facing engines, the Avanti features a stand-up cabin as large as that of a midsize jet, operates at speeds faster than those of many light jets and can top weather and air traffic at 41,000 feet, all with fuel-sipping efficiency 40% better than that of many smaller jets. The Avanti offers short-field performance, the ability to access hundreds of additional airfields, exemplary safety and ample nonstop range to fly halfway across the nation. Additionally, it provides exceptional service, and with a popular fixed-price monthly billing plan that blends management fees and flight hour charges, budgeting is simple and predictable.
Avantair’s latest quarterly results show record gains in revenue-generating flight hours. Hot sales of Avantair’s “Edge Card” are one reason, says Matt Doyle, Avantair senior executive vice president of sales and marketing. For a one-time, all-inclusive payment, the Edge Card provides Avanti flight time in 15- or 25-hour increments with discounts for first-time buyers, making it one of the lowest-cost options for gaining business aircraft benefits.
Avantair’s “Axis Club Membership” bridges the gap between time card and fractional pricing. A onetime membership fee allows buyers to purchase a minimum of three or as many as six 25-hour Edge cards over a three-year period at a considerably reduced cost.
The Axis Club program provides flexibility and discounted rates at a time when long-term commitment and market risk are constraining many fractional buyers. It has caught the attention of first-timers in rural areas, “where folks have a hard time traveling via airline but need to get out to see customers or want to maximize their personal time,” says Doyle.
“Part of what you’re seeing is people confirming,
‘Yes, a business aircraft is an absolutely critical tool.’”
David Sokol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NetJets
FLIGHT LOG >> A Retired Business Traveler
Regaining Personal Time
Jack Moore experienced the advantages of business aircraft early in his career and later as chairman of Regions Financial Corporation. He says business aircraft played a key role in a major bank merger that had him shuttling three times weekly between Miami, Fla., and Des Moines, Iowa, and points in between. Now retired and living in Memphis, Tenn., Moore splits his time between private investment and family.
With seven grandchildren, five of whom are 200 miles away in Nashville, Tenn., a second home on Sea Island, Ga., and a 93-year-old father in his hard-to-reach hometown of Clanton, Ala., Moore concedes that his personal time has enormous value. He turned to Avantair’s Axis Club for its lower up-front costs and shorter-term commitment. “You get the most aircraft for the best value,” raves Moore.
In the Avanti, he gains a cabin that rivals a midsize jet’s in terms of size, which is highly desirable with kids, spouses and grandchildren aboard. Now he sees his family more often, spends more time with his father and has turned a second residence into a true second home. With the fast Avanti, he can make it to his grandchildren in a half hour, his father in 45 minutes, and his Sea Island house in an hour and a half.
The opportunity to use two airplanes at once is an added bonus. While Moore and his wife travel to their beach home, another Avanti can pick up his children, their spouses and his grandkids. For Moore, who greatly values family time, Avantair enables a life-changing, life-enhancing experience that has a worth far beyond its price.
Despite difficult economic conditions, enterprising companies have seized upon immense opportunities and untapped market potential, thanks in large part to their investment in business aircraft. They’ve discovered the significant competitive advantage of these strategic tools—and, most important, realized that you don’t have to own a plane to access these benefits.
“In a world in which so much business is conducted on BlackBerrys and laptops, my jet card allows me to get people together, conduct real business and resolve issues face-to-face,” says a Florida-based real estate investor. “It is an unbelievably efficient use of my time.”
The tens of thousands of companies and individuals that use business aircraft seem to agree. Many signs suggest that business aviation is picking up on a global scale. Those who are using it will inevitably be the first to open new markets. “Part of what you’re seeing is people confirming, ‘Yes, this is an absolutely critical tool,” attests NetJets’ Sokol.
As new prospects develop across the globe, the ability to get there quickly and efficiently with all of your key decision makers—before the competition—becomes mission critical. That makes a business aircraft more valuable than ever before.
With so many affordable ways to acquire these advantages, gaining an upper hand in the global marketplace is well within reach for businesses of any size. With a business aircraft at your disposal, the future becomes clear: The sky is no longer the limit, and the only restriction on your business’s success is imagination.
Written and Produced by Mark Patiky - firstname.lastname@example.org | Associate Writer: Celeste C. Giampetro | Principal Photography: Paul Bowen
Editor: Allison Lurker Rickert | Designer: Jon Prinsky
Forbes Custom is a custom publishing site that features
special advertising sections from Forbes magazine
as well as industry articles and videos from our partners.
The editors at Forbes were not involved in the creation of this content.
Site Developed by SmartMark Communications, LLC
© Forbes Magazine, All Rights Reserved