Mark Patiky FORBES
Are You Ready to Compete in the Global Marketplace?
November 26, 2013
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  • When Walter Curt founded Shenandoah Electronic Intelligence Inc. in his basement, he didn’t consider how his rural Virginia location, two and a half hours from the nearest airline terminal, would affect the company’s growth. “We just couldn’t get there from here,” he says, recalling daylong drives to reach customers that took less time than an airline flight.

    Then Curt turned to a business aircraft, and a whole new world of opportunity unfolded. Tens of thousands of other companies have had a similar epiphany. With a business aircraft, they are finding that travel has never been quicker, easier or more productive. And, with more-affordable access than ever, even the smallest companies can compete on a level playing field with much larger business rivals.

    According to the National Business Aviation Association, more than 80% of firms using business aircraft are small and midsize businesses. A NEXA Advisors report concludes that among those companies listed as the best places to work, more than 90% use business aircraft. The truth is, the top places to live and work in this country are not always those best served by commercial airline service. These companies understand that when time is critical, business is at stake—and missed opportunities have a financial consequence. They also know that a business aircraft can deliver you with amazing speed and efficiency to the 5,000 local communities, towns and cities across the nation where airlines don’t go. It’s not just top executives that are flying, either: A Harris Interactive poll shows that more than 70% of business aircraft travelers are middle managers, researchers, technicians and customers.

    Furthermore, time spent in a business aircraft cabin, free of interruptions, is an opportunity to work, collaborate with colleagues or simply relax. And with a business aircraft, you fly on your schedule, not an airline’s.

    Perhaps best of all, you don’t have to own an aircraft to gain all of the benefits. In addition to the more than 30,000 jet- and piston-powered business aircraft in use, new flexible options with added features and value such as fractional ownership, jet cards and charter are available. And innovative alternatives that are even more economical continue to emerge.

    Find the Perfect Fit

    An ever-growing selection of aircraft provides the perfect choice to accommodate virtually any trip across the state or around the world. Choose from small jets designed for speed, comfort and economy for regional flights; midsize jets with larger, more comfortable cabins and coast-to-coast range; or intercontinental jets that can take you around the world at unprecedented speed.

    Fractional Ownership and Jet Cards

    Fractional ownership brings business aviation advantages to thousands of companies and individuals that never dreamed it possible. For a fraction of the price of a whole aircraft, you eliminate the operational obligations and gain tax benefits and all the ownership advantages, plus a great deal more. NetJets, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, formulated the original fractional ownership model. It, and others like Flight Options and Flexjet, operate the major programs. Each company’s program is defined by different options, enhancements and varied aircraft choices.

    Fractional ownership requires an up-front capital investment and a minimum 50-hour annual commitment, typically for five years, yet many customers have lesser requirements. For them, jet cards may be the answer. One can purchase flight time in 25-hour increments and, unlike fractional ownership, jet cards don’t require any capital investments, long-term contracts or monthly management fees. Travel is based on one-way flights. However, jet card owners pay higher hourly rates than do fractional owners in lieu of an ownership investment.

    A New Way to Fly

    JetSuite is breaking the price barrier for private air travel for more companies and individuals than ever before. By combining the safety, consistency, reliability and quality of fractional ownership with all the advantages of jet cards, JetSuite pioneered a new class of service for people who value both their time and their money.

    Attractively priced one-way flights are available throughout the Southwest in the economical fuel-efficient Embraer Phenom 100, which seats four passengers and includes free Wi-Fi. And now you can fly JetSuite throughout the Northeast, from Boston to South Florida or anywhere in between nonstop on JetSuite’s new Wi-Fi-equipped seven-passenger Cessna CJ3s.

    While travelers can request flights to any destinations in the U.S., Canada or Mexico, the deals improve if you travel between JetSuite’s most popular city pairs. These have the lowest overall cost and beat any traditional charter trip. Book online and get a guaranteed quote in seconds—and the price is for the plane, not the seat.

    JetSuite is making booking even easier with a low-cost airport finder that will highlight the best values within a traveler’s defined radius of departure and destination cities. Input the airports you would like to use, and the airport finder will give you low-cost alternatives for other airports nearby.

    You can simply purchase single flights, but for frequent fliers, the deals get even better with SuiteKey Membership. By placing a deposit on future travel, much as with a jet card, members earn lower fares and other benefits. Four levels of prepaid membership are available, and the larger the deposit, the better the per-hour rate. Funds never expire, and SuiteKey members receive priority booking, flexible change and cancellation policies, lower FBO change fees and free ground transportation.

    The values get even better with “SuiteDeals.” These are last-minute flights listed on the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Since planes must be repositioned to accommodate the next day’s schedule, JetSuite makes those potentially empty flights available at “can’t resist” last-minute fares.

    A Priceless Opportunity

    In a competitive global market, business leaders must ask themselves some tough questions. How valuable is management and employee time? What value do you place on tens of thousands of productive hours saved? What’s the value of retaining the best people? What’s the value of business gained or the impact of business lost? The answers help measure the true value of a business aircraft from a fresh perspective. From industry giants to independent firms, companies and individuals are realizing that the true cost of a business aircraft is in not having one at all.

    Now, more than ever, business aircraft benefits are more easily and economically accessible. Companies with their own business aircraft are traveling when and where they want to with speed, schedule agility, safety and security. Even small companies are finding that a business aircraft can help them gain a big advantage in edging out the competition.

    Today, with so many options available, gaining an upper hand in the global marketplace has never been easier. And there is another benefit: One can reclaim one’s life. More time to spend with family and friends has always been priceless, but now it’s also affordable.

    Life’s great adventure is entirely up to you. So fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff. The skies are clear ahead.