Manufacturer Demands Business Leaders Recognize Importance Of
Regardless of how you feel about corporate America right now, in
this age of federal (taxpayer-funded) bailouts and billions of
dollars allocated for "stimulus" funding... more than a few in the
aviation industry have been disgusted these past few months over
how business aviation has been portrayed by lawmakers, pundits and
the general media as a whole.
Cessna Aircraft Company -- which makes its bread-and-butter off
sales of its popular Citation line of business jets -- thinks the
industry has taken it on the chin for far too long. On Wednesday,
the company announced a new marketing campaign to address what it
says is "misinformation" on the business use of general aviation
"We think it's time the other side of the story be told, and
that support be given to those businesses with the good judgment
and courage to use business aviation to not only help their
businesses survive the current financial crisis, but more quickly
forge a path toward an economic upturn," said Cessna Chairman,
President and CEO Jack J. Pelton.
While one could argue business jets
have never been lovingly embraced by the public at large, the image
of 'corporate fatcats' traveling on lavish private aircraft became
harder to combat last year when CEOs of the Detroit Three
automakers opted to fly to Washington, DC to beg Congress for
bailout funds to save their companies.
Lawmakers quickly seized on the fact each had traveled to
DC onboard his own corporate plane -- for the same
meeting, and from the same airport -- to ask for a $25 billion
Despite efforts by such entities as the National Business
to downplay that PR misfire, companies
responded to the public backlash against corporate jets by dumping
their planes onto an already-glutted resale market,
cancelling orders for new planes and
closing down corporate flight departments.
Lost in the resulting tumult was the fact executives use those
aircraft as traveling offices, on which to conduct business in time
that might otherwise be wasted thumbing through the SkyMall
catalog on a commercial flight. (And nevermind the fact most of
the same lawmakers who criticized those CEOs also travel on private
jets... including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who commutes from her
California home to DC on a government-supplied Boeing 757 --
Perhaps recognizing now isn't the time to attempt to change the
public image of business aviation, Cessna's campaign (the first ad
of which is displayed above) instead targets the executives who use
corporate aircraft... in essence, telling them to stand firm
against that public outcry.
"Today, we are demanding business leaders and managers work at
their absolute peak to turn their companies, and our economy,
around," Pelton said. "Business aviation provides the means to do
just that. A business aircraft is a tool of industry, and one that
should see its highest and best use during times of fiscal crisis.
Anyone who has ever seen managers board a business aircraft at dawn
and return well after dark, having visited multiple cities and
attended countless meetings in one day can attest to the fact that
business aviation allows companies to get the most out of every
minute of every day -- exactly what is needed to work our way
toward economic recovery.
"The reality of business aviation is a far cry from the
misconception of CEOs flying in large luxurious airplanes," Pelton
continued. "Most of these aircraft are fairly Spartan, designed for
business, with a cabin about the size of a minivan or SUV
Cessna's campaign will begin with advertisements with
pro-business themes encouraging operators to keep flying business
aircraft to demonstrate leadership in the face of economic
challenge. The campaign, supported by a communications initiative,
will celebrate the business person's vision and pursuit of
opportunity served by the increased productivity and efficiency of
"Importantly, general aviation's contribution to the American
economy includes 1.2 million jobs in all 50 states," Pelton said.
"These people produce, design, support, maintain, and/or service
business aircraft either directly or through support operations at
some 5,000 general aviation airports."
Pelton added general aviation contributes more than $150 billion
annually to the US economy and is one of the few remaining
industries that maintain a positive balance of trade with nearly 40
percent of the country's total 2007 production of $12 billion worth
of aircraft exported.