NBAA Orlando 2012

National Business Aviation Association 65th Annual Meeting

Orlando Florida Oct 30th-31st, Nov 01st

NBAA 2012 Orlando Florida Static Display

Whenever I get into a discussion about what I do as an aviation adviser I always have the most difficulty explaining the world of business jets. When I explain about “bush” flying most people get the idea that we fly into remote regions using seaplanes, floatplanes, ski-planes and generally any bushplane that can land on lakes, rivers, oceans or unprepared air strips. When I talk about helicopters everyone gets the idea of being able to use vertical flight to land on mountain sides, river banks, and roof tops although sometime I confuse the issues by discussing off-shore helicopter support and why it is considered different because we use “offshore” oil and gas production platforms or support vessel helidecks rather than land based helipads.

Explaining business aviation, however, always gets confusing. First of all business aviation has to be explained in the context of general aviation. So let’s start with an explanation from the NBAA website.

The Federal Aviation Administration defines general aviation as all flights that are not conducted by the military or the scheduled airlines. As such, business aviation is a part of general aviation that focuses on the business use of airplanes and helicopters.


“Business use” needs to be defined further in that there is a difference between business use and commercial use. I am often asked if I fly for the “airlines” as a commercial pilot. My answer is that “I get paid for flying so I am being paid as a commercial pilot but NO I don’t fly for the airlines.” All paid pilots are commercial pilots but not all general aviation aircraft are commercial. The difference is in how you make your revenue.

General aviation includes charter air services and non-scheduled airlines where these companies get paid for flight services rendered most often in the terms of hours or miles flown. They are paid by the hour or by the mile. Scheduled airlines charge by each seat sold but charter services sell the use of the entire aircraft whether the seats are full or not.

Business aviation can include commercial charter operations if the services are sold to corporations. If your company charters a Lear Jet to fly to Denver on an company organized ski trip the aircraft falls under general aviation commercial service but the flight itself falls under business aviation since it was carried out on behalf of a company even if the company wasn’t carrying out business in the general sense.

Therefore there are two basic categories of business aircraft owners. Businesses that own aircraft and charter them to other businesses and businesses that own and operate their own aircraft. The former makes money off selling hours on the aircraft they own (or lease) and the latter makes money from other means and not from their aircraft.

The term “corporate jet” usually means the jet the company owns and uses for their own purposes. They don’t charter or charge for their flight services. The term “executive jet” is usually used to refer to the style of the aircraft or the type of aircraft that it is designed to be used as a corporate jet. Bombardier and Gulfstream manufacturer a specific line of executive jets to be used by corporations for business purposes.

To confuse the matter even further the term “private jet” refers to an executive jet that is privately owned by an individual that is used for private and corporate purposed. Arnold Palmer or Bill Gates are good examples of private jet owners.

The purest form of business aviation is when a company, like Chevron, owns their aircraft, run their own flight department and uses their jets exclusively for flying their corporate managers. They pay their commercial pilots to fly the aircraft but they derive no revenue by selling flight time to other companies.

The NBAA, by definition, caters to both types of businesses (those that sell aviation services to other businesses and those that own and operate aircraft) and all the companies in between that cater to the business jet owners and operators including aircraft sales, finance, insurance, maintenance, interior and exterior completions, entry to service, flight crew provisions, training, catering, ground handling, fuel services, trip planning, operational management and the management companies (aviation advisers) who put it all together into one package.

That is where I come in. Helping companies and private owners to better understand where they fit in and how to conduct their business aviation requirements efficiently and safely.

Business Aviation is a Balancing Act. NBAA 2012

About John S Goulet

Air Transport Pilot, consultant, writer, blogger and photographer with 40 years in Professional Aviation.
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