Jack Defends Aviation and Defines A Proper Response For Critics
Say what you will, but these days Cessna CEO and C-195 aficionado, Jack Pelton, is a man with a mission. Sick and tired of watching an industry he loves victimized by misinformation and prejudice, Jack has come out swinging... and the man knows how to take on his foes. At the recently concluded AEA 2009 Convention and tradeshow, Jack was a featured speaker. He spoke to attendees about “Weathering the Storm,” and received a very positive response from an admittedly sympathetic crowd.
But its the Cessna campaign to fight the anti-aviation hysteria around the nation that has the rest of aviation applauding Pelton. 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.
A few weeks ago, the company announced a new marketing campaign to address what it says is "misinformation" on the business use of general aviation aircraft."
"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 loan.
Despite efforts by such entities as the National Business Aviation Association 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 never mind 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 -- Ed.)
Perhaps recognizing now isn't the time to attempt to change the public image of business aviation, Cessna's campaign instead targets the executives who use corporate aircraft... in essence, telling them to stand firm against that public outcry.
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.
Aero-TV Brings You Jack Pelton's Address To AEA 2009!
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