Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Value Of Corporate Time

It has to do with misinformation, not politics

Back in November 2008, when the CEOs of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors flew to Washington to ask for a government bailout, congressmen made much of the fact that the executives had all used corporate jets for the trip.

As a direct result of that criticism, General Motors and Ford announced two weeks later that they were selling their entire corporate jet fleet, a total of 12 aircraft, and laying off all flight crews, attendants, flight coordinators, mechanics and other maintenance personnel—probably not the best way to resolve the unemployment crisis.

(The three automotive CEOs were summoned to Washington, D.C., a month later, and this time, the executives DROVE the 630 miles to D.C. and back.)

In early July of this year, President Obama also took a swipe at corporate jet operators, suggesting that tax benefits of jet operation should be abolished and that travel by corporate jet was somehow irresponsible, a concession to greed and privilege.

“…If we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners…then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship,” said the president. (Talk about the ultimate red herring! What does corporate jet ownership have to do with college scholarships?)

Abolish those tax breaks, said Obama, and “you’ll still be able to ride in your corporate jet. You’re just going to have to pay a little more.” In other words, the president wasn’t asking anyone to give up their corporate jet, only to pay more to fly it.

Both congress and the president completely missed the point that the vast majority of business aviation doesn’t travel by “corporate jet” at all, an incorrect stereotype that totally mischaracterizes business flying.


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