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Many insiders in the general aviation industry are pondering whether the fateful trip of three CEOs from Detroit to Washington late last year will sound the death knell for private jet travel. Jim Schuster, chief executive of Hawker Beechcraft, says in regards to that trip, "I sat back in my chair and put my hands over my eyes and said, 'Oh, why did they do that? It was terrible, terrible judgment on their part, but I don't think they stopped to think for a minute that people were going to react this way."

Even before the public outrage directed towards Rick Wagoner, Bob Nardelli and Alan Mulally and their flight to visit Congress hoping for a bailout, the sinking global economy was hurting the sales of business aicraft; but afterwards, the industry really tanked, which is a shame. There really are instances when business jet travel makes plenty of sense, such as when traveling to a small market that's not served by commercial airlines or when shuttling dozens of people at a time. The trick, apparently, is knowing when to use private jets and when to leave them docked at the airport – a trick that some execs had obviously failed to learn.

[Source: New York Times]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, it's amazing that when you bitch about one thing, you can damage another thing.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Saw an article ealier today where the CEO of PNC Bank (which got part of the 350b bailout) flew him and some "clients" to the Super Bowl on a corporate jet.

      Where's the outrage from Congress?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I still think this is funny in a sad way that flying in private planes caused such an uproar and then became part of the bailout agreement for GM and Chrysler. Meanwhile, Air Force One flies to Denver from D.C. to sign a bill that was written in Washington D.C. without a peep from the "watchdogs" of congress or our esteemed media.

      Kind of silly if you ask me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I can only assume that the executive TARP restrictions will apply to government officials because the government is trillions of dollars in the hole. (worse than the banks)
        • 6 Years Ago
        why not the LS2LS7?

        You should change your name to "why am I so angry?". Seriously, every one of your posts is angry and an attack another post.

        Anyways, you seem to miss my point. Media covered the signing sure but they didn't make a peep about how much it cost or how absurd it is to fly across the country to sign a bill conceived and written just minutes from the White House. When Mullaly, Wagoner, and Nardelli flew to D.C. you heard about it for days on end.

        You seem more interested in trying to tear down my post than looking at the real story.

        Oh, by the way. There is a second 747 that flies with Air Force One as a decoy and as a backup in case of mechanical failure. There are also 3 "Marine One" helicopters too that fly together and play the shell game in flight. Only one has the President and only the pilots know which one.

        Pelosi does have a plane to use but it's a C-40B or also known as a Boeing 737.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The controversy was that the CEOs had to defense for their actions. They showed up with the hands out and not much of a plan or explanation. The showed up in Washington going through the motions and got caught out.

        If they had said "We are CEOs of international companies and our time is of the utmost value to our company (just look at our pay for justification of that statement). NOT flying here would have wasted time and further risked the jobs of our employees and the town that depend on them," then the panel would have just gone on to the next question. Nobody questions CEOs flying around in private jets as long as those CEOs are earning that sort of perk.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The real story? The real story is some company that makes luxury items is hit hard by the recession. It's not 747s, it's not Pelosi. It's not even Detroit.

        Yes, we heard about the flights for days on end. We also hear about Exxon's enormous profits ($45B in a quarter and rising!) I do not believe CEOs are influenced any more away from private jets by the press coverage than Exxon is influenced away from making big profits by their press coverage.

        There's no decoy 747. 747s cannot play a "shell game" in flight. There are a lot of planes in the flight group, but none is designated as a decoy. And Obama was in Chicago before he flew to Colorado, saying he "flew across the country" to sign it is a bit of an exaggeration, especially when you add the "minutes away" part.

        As a West coast person, I'm glad to see Obama out and about. D.C. is not in the center of our country geographically or culturally, and he has to represent us all. Serving the entire country without leaving D.C. isn't much more practical than trying to get elected without leaving D.C.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "We are CEOs of international companies and our time is of the utmost value to our company (just look at our pay for justification of that statement)"

        Heh, I'm not sure if you were trying to make a joke but that's a good one either way. I'm not sure citing an example of your own personal executive compensation abuse is the best way to defend taking a private jet everywhere you go.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why is it that when there is a scandal you can just put the suffix -gate on a descriptive word for the scandal? Watergate was the name of the Hotel.
      • 6 Years Ago

      I doubt President Nixon would ever imagine that part of his legacy would live on as a gate suffix attached to any possible scandal
      • 6 Years Ago
      Funny, considering Obama flies a 747 to colorado to sign the stimulus bill in front of solar panels. And there is always the secondary 747 that files also as a decoy, and a cargo plane with his up-armored humvee-turned-caddy inside.

      Pelosi flies a private flight government 757 back and forth to california, to avoid a layover for fuel in Kansas, which a smaller jet would require.

      All sorts of government people fly private airforce flights all over the world, all of the time... but private industry is vilified for it.

      Government contracts are the largest demand for light aircraft.

      The government wants to tell everyone they have to put the screws to their travel budgets, give up aircraft that are in the pipeline, at huge costs in contract cancellations, put people at a time disadvantage, and put aerospace workers in danger of losing their jobs.

      But government pay, and government travel are both rising.

      If Companies have to be FORCED to cut back by accepting taxpayer dollars, exactly who pays for every last dime of the federal government, including their aircraft fleets and private travel accomidations?

      THE TAXPAYERS. Some of which the government is putting OUT of work with avalanches of new regulations in the anti-stimulus pro-socialist bill that just cost more in terms of jet fuel for Obama to sign than a normal household will use in any sort of fuel for 30 years.

      Sickening.
        • 6 Years Ago
        +100

        "Do as we say, not as we do."
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would rather the government not tell other people to do without what the government itself takes for granted.

        I would rather the government get shoved back into the corner the US Constitution put it into.

        And let other people get on with the business of doing business, private jets or no private jets, based on market forces.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The 747 flights are paid for by the press buying seats in the press section. As long as there are enough press people who want to buy seats to fly on the Air Force One 747, it will continue to fly, even if it's only flying 60 miles at a hop.

        As far as I know, there is no decoy 747 that flies along.

        Pelosi neither requested nor usually flies the plane you speak of.

        http://www.snopes.com/politics/pelosi/jet.asp
      • 6 Years Ago
      Congress should have to give up their planes too. Our tax dollars pay for those rides.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with others that think it is a joke considering that the government fly in overly lavish and expensive "private" jets including Air Force One, the backup, and the whole fleet really.

      Yes, Detroit was in bad shape and asking for money. But you know what? The US is in a world of hurt too - China is buying all of our debt. Maybe Obama and the rest of the feds should be flying coach to China when asking them to buy more debt.

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!



      • 6 Years Ago
      Guess what's in the Stimulus package? Major tax breaks for builders of corp jets, company tax breaks for companies who purchase them.....and Congress blasted the auto CEO's for flying to the hearings on them?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with all about our "new" government flying all over the place. I understand it costs $59,000 per hour just for Air Force One. And I understand another plane does fly behind it just in case they may need it in case of trouble with AFO. Then there's all of the contigency folks that make all preparations ahead and all of the secret service. Makes the CEO flights look like kindergarten.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It is stupifying to hear people call the President of the United States a hypocrite by comparing Air Force One, part of his Secret Service-backed travel, to a private jet primarily used for the benefit of one executive. Other than being planes engineered to fly really well, they aren't comparable in need at all. Not surprisingly they are likely the same mind-numbed critics who went so far as to seriously suggest that President Obama somehow use his Escape Hybrid as part of his fleet to save money.

        I keep hearing these stupid notions and can't help but notice that they follow a specific level of disrespect for our country's top officeholder, in a way that implies that he somehow doesn't deserve the basic privileges or dignities afforded to other presidents.

        Be mindful that I'm not talking about Obama's politics at all here--I'm talking about the office he holds--and how it's only now anyone got around to crunching the numbers on monies spent for the protection or the personal comfort of the POTUS. I think this sort of questioning stinks, and it only serves to fuel accusations of notable double standards--namely, one that rhymes with 'spacial'.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Do not fall for the current trend of bashing corporate America. All those politicians that use private planes to take their "junkets" all over the world. Look at the current president, he complains about the waste, so what does he do, flies not one, but three 747's to Denver to sign a bull, sorry, bill, that could have been signed in Washington and saved us tons of money. It's ok to make a profit and spend it, it creats jobs. The next area of layoffs will be in the aviation industry. And those are very good paying jobs, not like the fast food places this president wants you to work at so you are totally depended upon the government to wipe your....-you guys fill in the blank
      • 6 Years Ago
      The idea that these planes ONLY transport the big execs is wrong. I used to work at a top 3 oil company and they had 4 big jets and smaller props. The jets had a schedule between far flung sites daily. It made a scheduled route twice a day. Any employee could use it for business and for vacation if seats available or for stand by. You could call and ask where it was going and when...if they knew and there were open seats..hop on.

      They are used for medical emergencies and to save money for employees in medical emergencies etc.

      One was paid for solely by its savings on overnight mail and shipping savings.

      Plus, these execs at times need to leave to go around the world on short notice. Much savings on these issues.

      Plus you dont keep a 30 million dollar asset SITTING. It is used regularly on schedule and has a set of pilots.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That sounds reasonable.

        If the wealthy want to own or rent 'Private' jets, that's their business. But a corporation on overhead needs to have a 'Corporate aircraft'. i.e. accessible to all employees.

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