General Motors executives are once again certified members of the jet set. As you may recall, one of the concessions made by automakers in accepting government assistance back in 2009 was a requirement to discontinue the use of private jets in lieu of standard commercial airline flights. The issue first reared its head after the three auto CEOs from Detroit flew in private jets to Washington to outline why the industry needed bailout money. Not so smart.
It wasn't too long ago that General Motors was fending off a heap of public ire over the company's use of private planes. Now it looks like The General is back to eschewing commercial flight in favor of taking to the wild-blue yonder in chartered craft. According to The Detroit News, GM has been sending executives to Europe, Canada and various locations within the U.S. in order to promote the company's stock for an upcoming IPO. In most cases, the workers have travelled by private aircraft.
Late last year, Rick Wagoner, Bob Nardelli and Alan Mulally each climbed aboard their own company-provided private jets in lieu of commercial flight – or, alternatively, one of their company's own vehicles – to go before Congress and ask for a bailout. In the public eye, at least, that move was – to put it mildly – a mistake.
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
General Motors has an early New Years Resolution: to be more fiscally responsible when it comes to corporate travel. With six short, direct sentences (see official press release after the jump), GM has declared that its Corporate Aviation Operations are to be shuttered. It might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but there are apparently numerous contractual agreements that need to be reworked to make this a reality. First, the jets themselves need to be returned, sold or transferred to an
Bad idea: Detroit 3 CEOs showing up for a Congressional hearing to beg for money in private jets. Good idea: said CEOs showing up at Congress' curb in their respective company's greenest vehicles. Just such a caravan has been proposed by Tim Leuliette, CEO of supplier Dura Automotive Systems Inc., and it's gaining steam. The idea is to highlight how integral the Detroit automakers are to the lives of many who work outside the companies themselves, and to showcase their latest fuel efficient mode
A great deal of fuss has been made over the last week or so about the travel arrangements of the leaders of the Detroit 3 automakers. By now, you're surely aware that Rick Wagoner of General Motors, Alan Mulally at Ford and Bob Nardelli at Chrysler traveled to our nation's capital to discuss Federal loans for their prospective companies in private jets. Yeah, not the smartest way to travel when you are begging for money. So, have you really explored all of your cash-saving options? Perhaps not.