According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, over 320,000 general aviation aircraft, ranging from two-seat trainers and civil helicopters to longer range turboprops and intercontinental business jets, are flying today. In 2011, some 1,865 new aircraft were delivered – this during a period where demand remained soft, especially in the established markets of Europe and North America.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in business aviation, where a growing number of companies – entrepreneurial start-ups and Fortune 500-level corporations alike – place a high value on productivity and flexibility in their business dealings. Interestingly, the majority of passengers using business jets are mid-level employees, including salespeople, engineers and technicians, who maximise their travel time to continue working, meeting with, or assisting customers in a secure, private environment.
Having a corporate aircraft available means they can plan a day’s worth of travel, stopping in several locations and returning to their starting point at night. When travelling on board business aircraft, employees can meet, plan and work with each other en route.
In addition to fostering productivity, business aviation increases flexibility. Businesses don't always know in advance where or when opportunities will present themselves, so companies need to be nimble enough to move quickly. Business aviation allows them to respond to changing demands and circumstances with potential and existing customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders.