"No Plane, No Gain" A Case for Greater Support for Business Aviation in India?

We support and applaud the efforts that India’s BAOA has undertaken and hope that business aviation in India will flourish

Issue: 10 / 2016By Claudio Camelier, Vice President, Sales in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, Embraer Executive JetsPhoto(s): By Embraer

The Indian Government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) has created a lot of buzz in the news. Certainly, this plan has the opportunity to connect more of India’s population via air transport. At the same time, there has to be a growing recognition that business aviation is a key tool to enhance business productivity and thereby contributing to the country’s economy.

This debate about the importance of business aviation, championed largely by India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), is not unique to the country. Even in the United States, the world’s largest and most mature market for business jets, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has to continuously lobby for the business aviation cause. The slogan they use is “No Plane, No Gain.”

The US case

To fully appreciate business aviation’s contribution to the US economy and its industrial might, it is important to appreciate the intrinsic role of the NBAA, a strong and vocal advocate for the community that continues to champion the sector’s vitality.

As a member of the NBAA, Embraer is supportive of the association’s efforts as they retain a central focus for the broader business aviation community as well as raising the sector’s profile within local and national governments. It is that support for the aircraft owners and operators that is so fundamental to business aviation’s symbiotic relationship with US industry and how the sector has become a core element to success for businesses both large and small across the entire nation.

To comprehend the success of business aviation in the US aviation, it is crucial to understand the core community. While the common perception is that the demand for business aircraft stems from high-net-worth individuals, celebrities and large conglomerates, the actual fact is the highest demand comes from small and medium businesses, most of which own their own aircraft. Of the 15,000 business aircraft currently flying in the US, the average seats six passengers, and each journey is normally less than 1,600 km. According to a Business Jet Traveler magazine report, flight manifests are dominated by middle managers and not executive from the corporate suites.

Almost all of the 5,000 general aviation airports serve remote communities that are not supported by commercial aviation, a benefit that observers in India can readily appreciate. However, the success of business aviation in the US can be attributed to concerted effort to ensure regulators were made fully aware of the myriad benefits of general aviation.

According to the NBAA, business aviation contributes more than $150 billion to the US economy each year, has a positive effect on the balance of trade and supports 1.2 million manufacturing and service jobs.

For individual businesses, the sector’s effect is more direct. Because of the agility and flexibility of the country’s general aviation fleet, companies can access markets that would be difficult and costly – if not impossible – to access through commercial travel. Not only does this facilitate sales and preserve customer relations, many companies now provide near-time services to their customers that can only be possible with the support of the quickest, most flexible and secure form of transportation.

That security also extends to the cabin of every business aircraft, an environment that allows passengers to work freely on important and sensitive material without the necessary constraints imposed on employees using commercial airline service. Other studies have demonstrated that business aircraft users mention they are more productive inflight than peers travelling commercially. Employees using business aircraft also spend less time on the road, providing a healthy work-life balance while also controlling travel costs.

India

Embraer has more than 20 business jets in India and we keep hearing from our customers how worthwhile a business jet has been to facilitate their business productivity – getting them to places they need to be, at their desired time, and with whom they want to travel with.

It has taken the United States business aviation industry many years to get to where they are and we see the potential that the growth of business aviation will bring to India. We support and applaud the efforts that India’s BAOA has undertaken and hope that business aviation in India will flourish.