In the last six years, the use of "corporate jets" has been vilified in the public dialog. The stratification of wealth and the on-going public debate does not seem to be waning. This sensitivity is raised when the aircraft use is by a public company.
The introduction of Sarbanes-Oxley and then the growth of shareholder advocacy groups is at times highlighting the use of on-demand transportation.
The brand impact can be mitigated with a number of strategies:
Formerly, individuals would purchase an aircraft and operate it. Today, there are many options for on-demand travel. As a company strategy changes, it can move fluidly through each business aviation platform.
A holistic approach to on-demand transportation should be developed that examines:
One of the biggest trends is using a separate platform for personal use than for business use. Companies that own an aircraft may now purchase charter or a separate fractional share to address personal use and not blend the uses on their own aircraft.
Separating platforms has a number of advantages for corporations, particularly public corporations:
Information and physical security risk is continuing to demand the use of on-demand transportation allowing corporations to move covertly. In larger corporations, on-demand transportation allows the movement of employees without their travel schedules being accessible to internal and external travel agencies. Additionally, the use of on-demand aircraft enables groups to travel and converse without concern of "who" is overhearing the conversation.
For individuals who have a physical security risk, the use of on-demand aircraft allows control of all aspects of the transportation event. Best practices that can be implemented in this form of travel that cannot be used on public transportation (airlines) include:
Additionally, these best practices are often used for merger and acquisition activity or when covert business operations are needed.
The growth of "resellers" of charter hours has spawned an industry that has injected a "broker" in the middle of the transaction between the charter provider and the customer. These are individuals who offer access to charter aircraft, but do not operate the aircraft themselves.
Their marketing approach gives the appearance that they are the actual operator, when, in fact, all they do is find a third party to provide the transportation and collect a commission from the transaction. Often, there is very little quality control or risk management in their selection of a charter provider.
The FAA is in the process to introduce regulations to address the growth of "charter brokers." Currently, the scope of these regulations is unknown.
Businesses as well as public advocacy groups are more aggressively observing on-demand aircraft movements in order to either determine strategic initiatives or to determine inappropriate use of shareholder access.
This is done by:
In the last 10 years, aviation has been moving from a reactive approach to risk to a system that identifies risk trends and attempts to be proactive and predictive.
Aircraft accident/incident rates are at very low levels and most likely can not be improved without a significant change in risk measurement. In the last decade, the concept of Safety Management Systems (SMS) has been codified. As SMS matures, it enables risks to be quantified and predictive and proactive methods have been developed to avoid those risks.
The on-demand segment of aviation has varying levels of implementation of SMS. While mandated by the FAA for commercial operators (charter), it is voluntary for internal flight operations. Additionally, an International Standard of Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO) standard has been developed to monitor these processes, but less than 15 percent of the eligible operations have achieved IS-BAO registration.
Using providers that are proactively pursuing risk management should be a high priority for users of on-demand travel.