April 06, 2016

Harness the Power to Be in Person: Add Private Aviation with Jet Linx to Your Business Toolkit

“Private jet travel is a competitive advantage,” Dyche said. Research by the National Business Aviation Association, or NBAA, shows that in addition to filling 95% of the ‘World’s Most Admired Companies,’ business aircraft users are 86% of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work” and are present in all 50 states. “When you look at the statistics and when you look at companies that use an aircraft versus those who do not, they show growth trends associated with the ownership,” Ropp added.

Time after time: your biggest savings

One of the biggest advantages gained when using a private aircraft for business is the time savings involved. Executives skip the security lines at the airport hub, lengthy layovers at an out-of-the-way airline hub, and are able to arrive at private terminals minutes prior to takeoff. “I think a majority of businesses forget to truly evaluate their senior executive teams’ values,” Ropp explained. “Once you think of payroll, bonuses, stock options, and more with the hour showtime for airlines, with the rental car, logistics and location of a major airport hub compared to the local airport. People really fail to take that into consideration.”

Although you may consider only one local airport because of a ubiquitous airport hub, there is often an option closer to your departure point and destination. “If you use Atlanta for an example, and fly out of Peachtree-DeKalb where Jet Linx Atlanta is located, you’re right in the heart of the financial district in Atlanta,” Bennett said. “This is opposed to flying into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and having to fight the traffic to get up to the northern part of Atlanta.” Private jet services allow for reach to about 5,000 airports, compared to the 500 served by commercial airlines, according to the NBAA.

When traveling on a private jet, your timeline is flexible. A client flying to multiple cities throughout the United States searching for service providers and business partners can make meetings in three cities on a shorter timetable. “It’s allowed him to accomplish three city visits in a day and a half compared to a three-day stint on the airlines,” Ropp said. “And if a meeting finishes early, they can advance their schedule and move on to the next destination. There are so many ways to optimize and tailor the way people use a business jet.” A business can visit remote manufacturing locations, or bring investors into their office. Some may tailor outings for executives to visit a golf course for networking. “I’ve seen it when we’ve had a group of proposed investors meet at our facility, travel to view a company for potential acquisition, have the meeting on the airplane to discuss it and that could be the linchpin of the deal,” he continued. Business jets are also used to bring remote board members into a company’s headquarters for meetings. “Large corporations who have their own fleet may use a solution like Jet Linx to supplement their fleet to support board meetings,” Kinsella added.

private-jet-jet-linxWhen plans change with little notice, an airline ticket might not do you much good – but the flexibility of a private jet can help you recover with less warning. “If you’re booked on your airline flight going to Atlanta from St. Louis, but something changes all of a sudden and you now need to go to Birmingham or New Orleans, you can change things more quickly to respond to an emergent need,” Ropp explained.

Kinsella pointed out the advantages of time efficiencies are multiplied by the number of team members taking the trip. “At Dulles or Reagan, you’re easily spending an hour or an hour and a half getting to your gate, let alone how long it takes you to get to the airport in DC traffic,” he said. “If you have easy access to a private jet at a secondary airport and just pull up to the jet on the ramp, jump out and get on the plane, you’ve added an hour and a half to each of your team’s day and that’s six hours increased productivity time total.”

Even if the group isn’t all traveling to the same destination, time can be saved with private aviation. “You can take a jet and put a salesperson in every seat,” Bennett said. “Then, fly a route dropping salespeople off and at the end of the week when the last salesperson is done, fly the return leg in the reverse pattern and fly them back so they’re home on Friday evening.” Sales teams are able to spend the week on the road, demonstrating products and making connections, but still get home in time to spend the weekend with their families.

Teams are also able to effectively leverage their travel time while on board to collaborate. “If you’re flying on an airline when going to sign or present a large contract, your team can be scattered throughout the plane,” Bennett said. Instead of relying on the possibility of wifi on the plane, or ducking through the aisle to confer with an associate, picture a different reality. “If you fly privately, you can use the aircraft to prepare for the meeting, review the PowerPoint, and have the undivided interest of everyone at hand,” Bennett said.

Another reason to consider private aviation is to transport goods or equipment that can’t tolerate commercial air travel, or for when shipping presentations, product samples and replacement parts isn’t feasible. “I had the luxury of selling an aircraft to a customer who was in the power plant business,” Bennett remembered. “For every hour that the power plant was down, it was upwards of a quarter of a million dollars that could hit the bottom line.” For this business, private aviation was the ace up their sleeve in an emergent situation, as they could dispatch the aircraft with a repair part. Highly specialized technicians may also need to travel quickly to a remote location for repair or security work.

being there – and back again

A private aircraft gives you the benefit of some of the most efficient travel possible today. “I always chalk it up as being the closest thing to a time machine in existence,” Ropp said. Changes to commercial aviation over the last few years has made it less and less effective. “Twenty years ago, you could go point A to point B anywhere in the United States and to Hawaii: you could have nonstop flights,” Ropp recalled. Today, airlines have fewer nonstop options, making you leave Tuesday night for a Wednesday lunch meeting – but if your local airport isn’t home to a commercial airline’s hub, recovery options are few and far between. “If the airlines cancel your flight, that linchpin presentation you have for your business? You’re done. If you’re on a business jet and there’s an issue, our plan is to get a plane in there right away,” he explained. “Even if private aviation isn’t the right fit for you every time, use it for those key trips – like presentations and board meetings – just to make sure you’ve got everything buttoned up. To be able to say ‘we’re flying in to see you,’ that’s powerful.” Dyche agreed, asking, “How many times have you had the feeling that you should have been there? If you have that feeling, you need to think about private aviation. If this project or opportunity will go into your annual report – you’ll address it if you don’t get it, or you’ll tout it if you do – you need to be there in person.”

With the flexibility and quicker travel time, private aviation can put you in front of your prospect quicker than your competitor – adding to your company’s bottom line. “I had the opportunity to sell an aircraft to a manufacturer, and their Vice President of Sales told me that they flew in on their private aircraft,” Bennett recalled. “As they were walking out of the client’s office with the signed contract in hand, their competitors were just pulling into the parking lot in their rental cars. They were there almost a whole 24 hours before their competitors were.”

When executives and sales teams travel extensively, the stress of being away from home can take its toll. “They fail to really put a price tag to their employees’ wellbeing,” Bennett said. Being able to make the meeting and go to sleep in your own bed is a huge benefit for employees. “Having a parent be home to make the Little League game or be home for family dinner? You can’t put a price tag on that,” he said. These benefits can be a competitive advantage when looking at retaining top talent. “The job market in DC is very competitive,” Kinsella said. “Businesses want to get the best out of their people. If their employees are home at night because they’ve used a private jet, it improves the quality of home life and work life balance that we all struggle with.”

Kinsella saw a team discover the true value of private aviation on one trip. The normal routine had been to take five days to visit five cities across the Midwest, staying in a hotel each night and dealing with rental cars and the airlines, with their high probability of canceled and delayed flights. “The son of the company’s founder convinced him to try private aviation once, and they did all five cities in one day,” Kinsella recalled. “I did the meet and greet on the departure and he was skeptical on the way out. On the way in when I met him on the ramp, he said it was incredible. Just amazingly productive and he was thrilled to go home to sleep in his own bed.”

privacy and security

If privacy is a concern for business travelers, private jet ownership or jet card membership with Jet Linx can’t be beat. “Private aviation is always safer and more secure because you have a known crew, more control on who maintains the aircraft and we can arrange a ground transportation provider or security provider at the arrival and departure,” Kinsella said. While the general nature of private aviation can help lessen some security risks, there are other issues to consider.

“I’m the Chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, so I always start with safety. I talk about how to tell a good, safe operator from a less than safe operator. Whether or not you fly with Jet Linx, I want you to fly with a good, safe solution so I can talk to you again,” Kinsella continued. “The least expensive solution is not always the best solution, and there’s nothing wrong with paying a small premium for a safer operator or a more flexible and simple program.” Safety standards like ARGUS Platinum, Wyvern Wingman and IS-BAO Certification are at the top of Kinsella’s list to discuss with clients. Jet Linx holds these standards, including the coveted IS-BAO Stage 3 Certification, one of the world’s most elite safety credentials. Jet Linx has strict safety standards throughout every aspect of the company to maintain these elite qualifications.

The physical security of the aircraft and airport aside, the privacy of avoiding a public terminal and commercial airline is also important. “Flying out of the eye of your competition is more valuable than we give credit for,” Dyche agreed. “If the meeting has to be secure to the point where you don’t want to be seen at the airport, or if your team has a ban on social media during the trip, private aviation can help you control that.” A CEO from Houston looking to acquire a company in Chicago could be spotted at the airport by a competitor, or a coach looking to recruit an athlete or move to another team might be seen in another city. Now that most cell phones are also Internet-connected cameras, a big move being kept under wraps might be scooped by the next big citizen journalist sitting across the aisle. Private planes and private terminals with Jet Linx eliminate the possibility of being spotted or overheard while discussing sensitive material.

Beyond the physical security aspects, information security may also be considered. “Using a business jet provides confidentiality and privacy compared to being in a busy terminal with public wifi,” Ropp said. “Some companies forbid their company officers from even firing up a laptop on a commercial aircraft for fear of it being breached or people looking over your shoulder with confidential information.” On a private jet equipped with wifi, you know who else is accessing the network so the risk of someone else using malicious software to tap into your computer is greatly reduced.

The jet’s privacy can be a benefit even after landing. “Some larger corporations will use the corporate jet, especially when traveling internationally, as a secured location for meetings,” Bennett advised. With increasing worry about safety and security, high-tension deals often require safeguards in place. “I’ve seen it done where the clientele comes out to the international airport because it’s a secure environment: our client’s executives are not getting off the airplane and going someplace they don’t really know.”

determining the right fit

Whether or not your business is currently using private aviation, the team of experts at Jet Linx will help you determine what is the right fit for your business. Our team uses a number of ways to help a client determine their mission profile. “We can look at a sample of cities they’re traveling to and from,” Ropp advised. Companies with remote locations or subsidiaries often need travel solutions beyond the airlines before being comfortable with aircraft ownership or a corporate flight department, and jet cards can fill that niche. “Sometimes it turns into conversations about shorter leg trips rather than trips from St. Louis to California and back.”

A common misconception is that only the largest companies use private aviation. “We see a lot of small and mid cap companies with remote locations, like a manufacturing site,” Kinsella said. Many times, companies are trying to travel somewhere that an airline would require two layovers and an hour drive instead of hopping in a light or midsize jet to go directly to the site, or they want to visit multiple cities in one day. With the advantages afforded by private jet travel, oftentimes cost ends up being less than originally estimated, Kinsella explained. “They overestimate what it would cost to fly privately. When you consider the cost to fly from DC to New York for a day, it’s an hour there and an hour back. We charge based on occupied rate, so it’s very reasonable, especially with a team of colleagues.”

If a company is using private aviation for the first time, one of the first things Bennett recommends is using a jet card. “I use a jet card as a demo card. What better way is there to demo an aircraft?” he asked. “The benefit of what we do at Jet Linx is that our clients get to try multiple types of aircraft within a size category.” This allows clients considering aircraft ownership the opportunity to try before they buy, to find preferences in amenities and abilities. “It allows you to have the experience and then make the buying decision so you don’t buy the aircraft and then realize it won’t efficiently cover your mission,” Bennett continued.

No matter your decision, Jet Linx is ready to help you determine the most resourceful way for your business to manage travel. “There are certain mission profiles where private aviation is hands down the best solution, but prospective clients don’t understand how to do the analysis,” Kinsella explained. “They’re assuming that flying on the airlines is less expensive and equally efficient. I find that we don’t sell jet cards and jet card hours, we sell solutions.”

Contact Us