The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has released its 2021 Business Aviation Fact Book as part of their “No Plane, No Gain” initiative.
Like their previous Fact Book publications, the 2021 edition is a treasure trove of data, facts, and figures that paints a positive picture of business aviation as being much more than just executive jets.
Contrary to what some see as the choice of private air travel for only the elite and those at the very top of corporations, this year’s Fact Book says that 86 percent of business aviation flights carry marketing and sales personnel, technical and engineering staff, middle managers and company customers—not top executives.
NBAA’s data shows that 80 percent of business airplane flights are flown into airports in small towns and communities. The sector includes helicopters, large and small piston and turboprop airplanes, and jets. Though the longest-range business jets can fly 20 or more passengers to offices and factories across the globe, the vast majority of business airplanes seat no more than six people and fly trips of less than 1,000 miles.
“Business aviation is an essential tool to companies and organizations of all kinds and sizes, including universities, nonprofits, hospitals, and farms,” the Fact Book states. “Firefighters, law enforcement, and government agencies use these aircraft every day. Only three percent of U.S. business aircraft are flown by Fortune 500 companies.
“Business aviation is essential to tens of thousands of companies competing in a marketplace that demands speed, flexibility, and efficiency. Utilizing an aircraft enables businesses to grow and create jobs in their hometowns—no matter where they are—since business aviation serves more than 10 times the number of U.S. airports than the commercial airlines, and many businesses are located in areas without any scheduled airline service.”
Business aviation is indeed a generator of jobs, with impacts supporting nearly 600,000 jobs and $50 billion in gross domestic product, including:
*421,000 jobs and $25 billion in GDP in the service sector,
*88,000 jobs and $8 billion in GDP in the wholesale and retail trade sector,
*nearly 85,000 jobs and $17 billion in GDP in the finance and insurance sector.
The book features a profile of Cummins, a manufacturer of heavy-duty engines and power-generation equipment.
“Cummins has customers operating its products in some hard-to-reach locations, and also has factories and offices at nearly a dozen sites across North America,” the book said.
“We fly to a lot of places you can’t get to any other way,” said director of corporate aviation Chris Raskob in the book.
The company’s three Gulfstream G280s enable managers to service customers globally on short notice. Cummins’ Embraer ERJ-135 shuttle connects employees to 11 regular destinations from the company headquarters in Columbus, Indiana.
“Without business aviation, Cummins couldn’t run a global manufacturing and distribution business,” Shelley Stewart, executive director of global security for Cummins added. “Its Columbus headquarters—and the entire Southern Indiana region where it has a network of offices and factories—is an hour and a half drive from the nearest commercial airport.”
Another business aviation success story the NBAA Fact Book describes is Premier Bone & Joint Centers based in Laramie, Wyoming. With just eight doctors, Premier operates 11 orthopedic clinics across Wyoming, serving about 80 percent of the state.
The physicians are based out of Premier’s headquarters in Laramie, but regularly visit the satellite clinics, often visiting two per day using four King Air turboprop aircraft and four pilots.
“I don’t see how we could operate 11 clinics without airplanes,” said Dr. Lawrence Jenkins, a spinal surgeon. “If we didn’t fly, we’d probably only have two or three doctors, and we couldn’t bring sub-specialist care to these small towns. During winter in Wyoming, there are lots of days when the roads are so bad we couldn’t get [drive] there. Our aircraft are vital to our business.”
The Fact Book explains that the business aviation industry’s efforts to increase sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint are now paying dividends.
“Most stakeholders acknowledge civil aviation’s contribution of two percent of global CO2 and three percent of greenhouse gas emissions, as per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report estimates. The business aviation contribution is estimated at two percent of total aviation emissions or just 0.04 percent of global emissions.”