The Mile-High Office
William Garvey, NY Times, January 31, 2009
The general public who begrudge the executive her Learjet don’t know what they’re talking about. Business aircraft are an engine of commerce, not just an extravagant luxury. The news media and the public seemed to delight when the executives of the major American auto companies drove cars to Washington D.C. to testify before Congress. I thought it was a stupid waste of time; a gimmick to appease the idiot populace. These guys’ responsibilities are far too important to have them stuck in highway traffic or airport security.
If two companies are competing for business, the one using a business aircraft can fly directly to one of those smaller airports and get to lunch with the client before the other guys taking the commercial airlines show up.
And the business people with the corporate jet won’t just arrive faster; they’ll also show up better prepared. After all, most companies send teams of people, and in their own airplane they’re free to discuss confidential information or polish up that PowerPoint presentation. What’s more, they can use the phones, their BlackBerrys and the Internet en route. In other words, these jets are offices that move.