Easley: Corporate Jets for Business
March 25, 2013
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  • By Grady Easley

    HUNTSVILLE — Many words have been bandied around concerning the perceived luxury of corporate jet aircraft. The idea is to cast terrible aspersions about the greed and avarice of corporations that can afford these management tools.

    However, you notice that high-level government officials have large government jets (737s, 747s, Lears, Grummans, and helicopters).

    I will share an experience with you. You reach a better conclusion with facts and less demagoguery.

    Pre-retirement, I had the opportunity of riding in a Gulfstream V. Truly, that makes the flying experience pleasurable.

    Before my travelogue, you should be made aware of the corporate jet environment. They come in a variety of sizes, speeds, configurations; all impacted by money.

    Many have heard of the Learjet and maybe even the Gulfstream. If professional athlete can utilize jets, it is reasonable that corporate executives would benefit mightily.

    Considering perceived value of athletes, senators or representatives, U.S. cabinet officers, and highly paid executives, the utilization of large or small jets must be worthwhile.

    Aside from timesavings, smaller corporate jets reduce national and international security problems at large or small airports, political unrest, and long waiting lines.

    A major international corporation was “courting” the Houston supermarket industry in an attempt to capture the scanner market. Their strategy included flying supermarket executives to a demonstration in Eastern state.

    A few grocery chain representatives went to a corporate airport in Houston. With business efficiency, unhampered by bureaucratic lethargy and procedures, we were asked to emplane.

    We had our choice of deep leather seats, headroom to spare, and enough legroom for a basketball team. The absence of an overhead bin allowed me to drape my coat across the back of a facing set.

    I had traveled fairly extensively in the 60-70s. Even so, I was not prepared for acceleration of the Gulfstream. It is smaller than commercial jets and the performance was overwhelming.

    The climb to altitude was so steep as to cause my suit coat to slip from chair back to floor. This steep ascent to cruising altitude continued until we leveled out at about 40,000 feet.

    We could see on radar cumulonimbus clouds (thunderboomers) erupting and mushrooming like major explosions. We were not totally above it and flew around the fringes. The view was magnificent.

    We were above most of it and watching from a position of ease. Our choice of drinks and snacks was of gourmet quality.

    My point is a corporate jet is not a luxurious and expensive misuse of money. If the corporation profits, government realizes the taxes, and allows government officials to travel in bigger planes.

    When a CEO and her/his managerial team are being paid millions per year, a Gulfstream becomes a strong tool for maximizing management effectiveness.

    It has not happened yet and probably will not come to pass. But if and when I win the lottery, I have one item on my “bucket” list.

    My plan calls for me to charter a corporate jet. TC, a few close friends, and I will depart on our schedule. The destination is not yet set but can be delayed until reality rears its lovely head.

    There are populist naysayers claiming corporate jets are expensive. If time saved increases profits, which means more, jobs and generates more taxes, I do not see the problem. Profits will pay for the government fleet of jets.

    Picture yourself as a CEO. Are you ready to be treated like a potential criminal? Want to stand in line like sheep going to slaughter? Schedules totally out of control? Go ahead and fly commercial.

    I could suggest AMTRAK but their success record is worse than USPS. However, in time spent traveling by rail, there would be enough flexibility to decide on three mergers, two plant expansions, and one new product line.

    Then you fly to where AMTRAK has no rails.

    Rather than decry the apparent luxury of corporate jets, why not aspire to those success levels where the airplane is just a tool of successful management?

    Admittedly, I am not on the Sunday TV shows. My efforts at syndication have not been overly successful. I presume I have a small following. Some read this for amusement. Others may read for content. Probably a teacher or two uses this as an example of what not to do.

    I strive mightily to be somewhere close to reasonable and honest. I may, like the mainstream media, ignore unpleasant facts I don’t care to discuss.

    There are many who disagree with my reasoning. I have no problem with that. Keep reading. I do get perturbed when I hear the tired litany of “WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT THAT WAY BEFORE.”

    Translated, that says there has not been an original thought in 20 years or more. c