TOP 5 REA­SONS WHY BA IS AN ES­SEN­TIAL TOOL FOR COM­PA­NIES

Seam­less travel ex­pe­ri­ences are es­sen­tial to ex­ec­u­tive travel and they sig­nif­i­cantly help ex­ec­u­tives to fo­cus on mat­ters which are of high­est pri­or­ity to the com­pany while on busi­ness travel.

SP's Aviation - - BUSINESS AVIATION - By SUD­HIR S. RAJESHIRKE

There has been a def­i­nite par­a­digm shift in the un­der­stand­ing of the value propo­si­tion that busi­ness avi­a­tion (busi­ness travel us­ing com­pany owned air­craft or pri­vate air char­ter ser­vices) pro­vides for cor­po­rate com­pa­nies. The key mis­con­cep­tion so far was that busi­ness avi­a­tion is pri­mar­ily a lux­ury ser­vice and hence it does not jus­tify the use of corpo- rate re­sources. How­ever, this key mis­con­cep­tion is chang­ing as share­hold­ers are in­creas­ingly be­gin­ning to view pri­vate air travel as a way to in­crease ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­tiv­ity and thus it can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on busi­ness. Busi­ness avi­a­tion is thus los­ing its elit­ist aura as more com­pa­nies be­yond For­tune In­dia 500 have started us­ing it reg­u­larly.

The fol­low­ing are top five rea­sons why busi­ness avi­a­tion is ben­e­fi­cial for most com­pa­nies:

The fol­low­ing is the de­tailed ex­pla­na­tion:

1. CON­VE­NIENCE

The ba­sic premise of busi­ness avi­a­tion is that it pro­vides tremen­dous amount of flex­i­bil­ity to se­nior ex­ec­u­tives who want to travel where they want to and when they want to. For ex­am­ple, in many cases the cor­po­rate head­quar­ters are lo­cated in tier 1 cities and the fac­to­ries or pro­ject lo­ca­tions are based in tier 2 or 3 cities where com­mer­cial air con­nec­tiv­ity may ei­ther not be avail­able or the tim­ings are highly un­suit­able. In such cases a CEO along with her or his team of three to four ex­ec­u­tives can travel any­where within In­dia and re­turn home the same day.

Fur­ther, the most tir­ing part of air travel in case of multi city vis­its is the lay­over time at air­ports. When us­ing busi­ness air­craft ex­ec­u­tives can prac­ti­cally move in and out of air­ports in less than 15 min­utes each and can cover up to three cities in a sin­gle day. Busi­ness avi­a­tion is an im­por­tant tool that gives busy ex­ec­u­tives the abil­ity to re­main “close to the cus­tomer” in a chal­leng­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and re­duces waste by sav­ing thou­sands of hours of non-pro­duc­tive travel time.

Ac­cord­ing to 2017 NBAA re­port busi­ness avi­a­tion con­trib­uted to en­ter­prise val­ues of the best man­aged com­pa­nies in USA.

Thus the con­ve­nience of­fered by pri­vate air travel has a large pos­i­tive im­pact on the morale and pro­duc­tiv­ity of the ex­ec­u­tives and is a jus­ti­fied use of cor­po­rate re­sources.

2. TIME SAV­ING

For cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives, time is the most es­sen­tial fac­tor and hence it be­comes a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion dur­ing air travel when air­lines get de­layed or ex­ec­u­tives get stuck in traf­fic and are anx­ious of miss­ing their flights. Sec­ondly, although the air­port ca­pac­i­ties have in­creased, the pas­sen­ger traf­fic has in­creased faster and al­most all air­ports are oper­at­ing at their ca­pac­i­ties. This in­creases check-in and se­cu­rity check times. At the min­i­mum, trav­el­ers have to ar­rive at air­port at least an hour prior to de­par­ture.

If the busi­ness trav­eler has a check-in bag and the de­par­ture and ar­rival are from large in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nals such as T2 at Mum­bai or T3 at New Delhi, then it can sub­stan­tially in­crease pre and post flight dwell times at the air­port.

In pri­vate air travel, ex­ec­u­tives can ar­rive al­most 15 min­utes prior to de­par­ture, check in via a ded­i­cated avi­a­tion ter­mi­nal and their lug­gage can be loaded di­rectly in the air­craft. In some cases, trav­el­ers can save al­most 75% of the dwell time that they would spend at an air­port. In ad­di­tion, if the ex­ec­u­tives are late for some rea­son, the air­craft will wait.

Busi­ness air­craft are thus called as time ma­chines as they free up sig­nif­i­cant amount of valu­able ex­ec­u­tive time thus cre­at­ing a stress free travel ex­pe­ri­ence.

3. PRI­VACY

The value ad­di­tion of this aspect is in­com­pa­ra­ble to those ex­ec­u­tives who like to make full pro­duc­tive use of their time on the air­craft. Most ex­ec­u­tives like to get their work done or dis­cuss im­por­tant client is­sues prior to their meet­ing at the des­ti­na­tion city. Thus a team of three to four ex­ec­u­tives can sit in a club style seat­ing ar­range­ment in a busi­ness air­craft and can dis­cuss sen­si­tive pro­ject is­sues or have a full scale meet­ing in the pri­vacy of their air­craft. This can­not be done in a com­mer­cial air­line busi­ness class where other trav­el­ers can lis­ten to their sen­si­tive busi­ness com­mu­ni­ca­tion or long haul first class com­part­ment, where seats are of­ten highly seg­re­gated and such dis­cus­sions are of­ten not pos­si­ble.

Fur­ther, if an ex­ec­u­tive is trav­el­ing alone, it also pro­vides a much needed ‘dis­con­nected’ or ‘me’ time to think about larger busi­ness is­sues. Ac­cord­ing to a 2009 sur­vey by the Na­tional Busi­ness Avi­a­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, re­spon­dents rated them­selves as 20% more pro­duc­tive while on com­pany air­craft than in the of­fice. Their coun­ter­parts fly­ing com­mer­cial re­ported a 40% drop in pro­duc­tiv­ity. Thus the pri­vacy of­fered by busi­ness air­craft is much val­ued by cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives for the value it adds to their work.

4. ECO­NOMICS

The av­er­age cost per seat on a light jet is only slightly higher as com­pared to a busi­ness class fare of a com­mer­cial air­line, but pro­vides all the value as­so­ci­ated with pri­vate air travel as men­tioned above. In ad­di­tion, ex­ec­u­tives can avoid overnight stay at ho­tels which not only saves cor­po­rate costs, but they are also able to re­turn home to their fam­i­lies rather than spend a night at a ho­tel. In ad­di­tion, ex­ec­u­tives can re­port to work next day and spend pro­duc­tive time in the of­fice rather than spend­ing time trav­el­ing on com­mer­cial air­line the next day had they not used a pri­vate air ser­vice.

The cost per seat is sig­nif­i­cantly higher as com­pared to first class on com­mer­cial air­lines when larger busi­ness jets are used. How­ever, those that use such large jets are typ­i­cally ones who fly in­ter­na­tional and re­quire a sleep­ing berth so that they can go di­rectly from the air­craft to a meet­ing straight from the air­port with­out check­ing into a ho­tel first.

Eco­nomics could be a sec­ondary con­sid­er­a­tion when safety and pri­vacy of the pas­sen­gers could be a con­cern. Top ex­ec­u­tives of For­tune In­dia com­pa­nies, politi­cians, movie stars and sports teams usu­ally at­tract lot of at­ten­tion of peo­ple and me­dia and need to have a has­sle free and se­cured way to travel, which is pro­vided best by pri­vate air travel.

5. SEAM­LESS EX­PE­RI­ENCE

Fi­nally, the key essence of busi­ness avi­a­tion is to have a has­sle free and seam­less travel ex­pe­ri­ence, while in­dulging in a bit of lux­ury that is right­fully earned for as­sum­ing ex­ec­u­tive re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Few good qual­ity air char­ter com­pa­nies or in-house avi­a­tion com­pa­nies man­ag­ing com­pany air­craft work hard to work out the mi­nor de­tails such as car drop to the air­port, fast check-in, cus­tom­ized on-board cater­ing ac­cord­ing to pas­sen­ger pref­er­ences, pro­vid­ing in-flight calls and/or wi-fi ser­vice, trans­fer to a he­li­copter, if re­quired, and car pick up at the des­ti­na­tion air­port etc.

Such seam­less travel ex­pe­ri­ences are not in­dul­gences. Rather they are es­sen­tial to ex­ec­u­tive travel and if car­ried out as one uni­fied process with great at­ten­tion to de­tails, they sig­nif­i­cantly help ex­ec­u­tives to fo­cus on mat­ters which are of high­est pri­or­ity to the com­pany while on busi­ness travel.

In sum­mary, busi­ness avi­a­tion has be­come an es­sen­tial busi­ness re­quire­ment. Hence the par­a­digm shift to­wards per­ceiv­ing busi­ness avi­a­tion as a ne­ces­sity and not as a lux­ury in­dul­gence is a step for­ward in in­creas­ing ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­tiv­ity.

I would love to hear any com­ments from you.

The au­thor is Vice Pres­i­dent – Sales at Ar­row Air­craft

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