The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today published a new survey showing conclusively that some of the recent portrayals of business aviation are inconsistent with the true nature of the industry.
The survey, conducted for GAMA and NBAA by Harris Interactive, depicts an industry in which the typical company is a small or mid-sized business flying a single aircraft that is used by a broad mix of employees to make business trips utilizing community airports, often with little or no airline service.
“These findings stand in stark contrast to recent mischaracterizations of business aviation operators,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is, companies of all sizes rely on many different types of aircraft to be more competitive, productive, efficient and successful.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen agreed, adding: “Although the manufacture and use of business aircraft contributes significantly to the national economy, the industry is often not well understood. This important study will help people see the real face of business aviation and underscore its importance to citizens, companies and communities across the U.S.”
The survey, based on actual interviews conducted with pilots and passengers involved in business aircraft flights, finds:
1. Small companies operate the majority of business aircraft. Most companies (59%) operating business aircraft have fewer than 500 employees, and seven in ten have less than 1,000 employees.
2. Companies using business aviation typically operate only a single aircraft. The majority (75%) of companies operate only one turbine-powered aircraft.
3. Managers and other mid-level employees are the typical passengers on business aircraft. Only 22% of passengers on business aircraft are top management (i.e., a company’s Chairman, Board Member, CEO or CFO); the majority are other managers (50%) and or technical, sales or service staff (20%).
4. Employees use their time onboard company aircraft more effectively and productively than when they are on airline flights. Some passengers even estimate that they are more productive on the company aircraft than they are in the office because of fewer distractions.
5. A large majority of flights (80%) are made into secondary airports or airports with infrequent or no scheduled airline service.
The survey was conducted online and by mail within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of GAMA and NBAA between June 1-October 6, 2009 among 350 Pilots, Flight Department Mangers, and Directors of Aviation of business aircraft and 289 passengers of business aircraft. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.