The Enlightened Business Traveler
Thinking Global, Acting Mobile
Written and Produced by Mark Patiky
The world you say good night to isn’t the same one you wake up to the next
morning. Markets have closed in Asia. Opening bells have rung in Europe. And
messages from around the globe have been languishing in e-mail in-boxes for hours. Response time is critical. So just how do you take on the International Date Line? With a lot of savvy, a bit of luck and the power of your own personal time machine.
Despite the wavering U.S. economy, the need for a company plane appears to be stronger than ever. What’s driving it? “The deterioration of commercial alternatives combined with the explosive economic growth abroad is factoring into how people run their business,” remarks Sentient Flight Group Inc. CEO Steven Hankin. “Time value increases when companies must react with speed and agility to rapidly changing market conditions,” he says. “It’s not the time to be waiting for the next airline flight.”
In contrast, tens of thousands of businesses and individuals across the nation are discovering the vast benefits business aviation has to offer. Industry figures confirm the trend: Business aircraft sales are reaching alltime highs, and jet deliveries increased 28% in 2007 over 2006.
Even small companies are finding that a business jet can help them gain the advantage they need to edge out their larger competition. “[The plane] is a very important tool for us,” says a real estate executive based in the rural Carolinas. “So, even as a small developer, we can compete effectively with the big guys.” Jerrold Rosenbaum, chairman, Body Shop of America, Inc., agrees: “Having the plane is not a convenience, it’s a necessity.”
The ability to land at thousands of local airports across the country means unfettered access to virtually any U.S. community. “I never realized how many small airports there were out there,”marvels real estate investor and Marquis Jet Card owner Sean Leder, CEO of the Leder Group. “I can land within five or ten minutes of my destination. ”
That means executives don’t need to choose their top markets based on what’s tops for airline service. In addition to offering the flexibility to travel on your own schedule, a private aircraft allows your productivity to soar. And that’s just the beginning. Today’s business aircraft are equipped as well, if not better than, many offices on the ground. So you don’t just get there faster, you get there ready.
Business has gone global and there’s no going back. The Enlightened Business Traveler reveals how a business aircraft can help you make the most of this new world of opportunity. It documents how businesses of all sizes are using these strategic tools to gain the competitive edge in today’s global marketplace. But, most important, it discusses the ease with which you too can reclaim precious time.
"[The jet] makes opportunities available that we would otherwise abandon, and makes
it very easy for us to do same-day turnarounds that you could never do commercially.
Stuart Harelik IMI Partners, LLC
Few companies better understand how to help people operate more productively and efficiently than Steelcase Inc., headquartered in Grand Rapids,Mich. So it’s no coincidence that this global leader in the office furniture industry chose two Dassault Falcon Jets — a large-cabin Falcon 2000 EX and a larger, long-range 900 EX — to enhance revenues and increase productivity. The Falcons, known for conservative fuel consumption, also support Steelcase’s dedication to improving the environment.
While one might think that senior management gains all the flight benefits, at Steelcase, customers and prospective clients have top priority.As many as ten customer groups visit weekly, transported directly to Grand Rapids aboard the company jets. Each aircraft flies about 900 hours annually, twice the industry norm, and typically all ten seats are filled. Does it pay off? You bet. For more than 30 years, Steelcase has attributed overwhelming sales success to these fly-in visits,which have been a major boost to profits and shareholder value.This is a relationships business, says Glenn Jones, director of aviation.“When prospective customers are here, they get a picture of the total quality of the company.”
Schedule demands can take the Falcons to any of thousands of airfields around the nation and abroad.That’s why Jones
appreciates the Falcons’ high-tech safety and utility features, as well as their unsurpassed reliability.
With commercial options infrequent, inconvenient and time-consuming, the typical airline trip to Grand Rapids can consume a day. Company research indicates that the time penalty would deter many visits.But the company jets reduce the journey to a productive one- or two-hour flight.“The aircraft can pick passengers up in the morning and have them home that evening,” says Jones,and that allows for a facility tour and a full day of discussions.That’s not the only benefit.“Travel time becomes some of the most valuable time to build relationships in a comfortable,relaxed setting,”Jones emphasizes.“Our aircraft give us a significant business advantage.”
A Service For all Reasons
Charter and Aircraft Management
Buyer demand for business aircraft and the advantages they offer continues to defy economic gravity. In fact, a large percentage of firsttime buyers are opting for large-cabin, long-range jets, points out Jake Cartwright, president, Sentient Aircraft Management. The trend confirms the need to think global and act mobile. But the job of dealing with crewing, maintenance, regulatory issues, insurance and other requirements is a complex task, especially for new buyers, he explains. “Why divert precious internal resources or detract from a company’s main focus when owner requirements can be outsourced to highly experienced specialist firms?” he asks.
Sentient, a giant in the world of aircraft management and charter, is one of the fastest-evolving companies in the business jet marketplace. The company has over 300 managed aircraft under its wing, ranging from small-cabin jets to ultra-long-range behemoths, complementing its booming jet card program, which has more than 3,000 members.
With more than 60% of these managed aircraft available for charter, plus hundreds more available through an independent group of the most safety-conscious, qualityfocused preferred charter providers, Sentient is bringing business aircraft advantages to the masses. As a result, owners are benefiting from significantly reduced costs for fuel, insurance and crew training.
The cornerstone of Sentient’s management philosophy, points out Cartwright, is tailored service implemented locally but supported by an unprecedented level of national resources and expertise in all facets of aircraft operations. The company has more than 50 independently based custom flight operations at owner-specified locations, as well as traditional centralized management operations in key metropolitan areas. In addition, each managed aircraft owner gains the advantage of a Sentient Jet Membership card, providing access to a wide range of charter aircraft. This is particularly convenient when a larger or smaller aircraft is more suitable for a trip, or when one’s own plane is down for maintenance.
While high service standards are paramount, Sentient’s founding principle and ultimate success is driven by a safety culture second to none, points out CEO Steven Hankin. “We have fused an unwavering focus on safety and security into every aspect of the operation,” he says. Sentient’s independent safety board includes former FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and former National Transportation Safety Board executives and investigators. It provides guidance and defines the standards and requirements for all charter and managed aircraft operations.“ We want to be certain that we are working with people that represent the highest commitment to safety,” says Hankin.
Meanwhile, ever-evolving fractional ownership provider Flight Options has launched two management programs of its own. One program, designed for aircraft similar to those in the Flight Options fleet, places the owner’s aircraft in fleet operation and generates revenues, which offset significant ownership costs. A second program offers operations and maintenance support for aircraft flown exclusively for the owner.