How would the U.S. business traveler have been affected by the nearly full implementation of mass air traffic controller furloughs? Do you think we in the private jet business had some concerns over the recent prospect of these FAA furloughs? You bet we did. In fact, when those of us in the business travel field (political views aside) first got wind of this possibility back in March, it was a stirring reminder of how delicate the business travel industry is — not to mention the immediate repercussions that could have manifested “out of the blue sky” so to speak. We had to think about the effect the furloughs would have had on our clients, our clients’ clients, and even the effect it would have had on our own business travel if they had been implemented. Many questions have come up in light of recent developments and here are some of the most common:
Will private aircraft have the same delays to business travelers as commercial airlines?
No. Since the majority of private aircraft use adjacent regional airports in all major U.S. cities, most private aircraft itineraries would not have been directly affected by the same general delays that began last month. In fact, the number of private aircraft travelers would have likely increased had the Senate bill not come through. It is much the same as when a catastrophe such as a hurricane or tornado hits and the business aviation sector is called on for additional lift. The one big difference would have been that it would be an ongoing event rather than a one-time occurrence.
What about safety?
Safety questions almost always surface with respect to flight delays. Most of the delays would have been a result of even less commercial options than there are now. However, any time you consider the large number of U.S. business travelers being transported at any given hour of the day, either via commercial or private aircraft, we need to be mindful of the additional safety risks involved. One possibility is the risk of in-flight collisions if commercial airliners are diverted away from their intended destination and interfere with already congested skies in and around the major hub in the city.
What about suggestions going forward?
It’s no secret that our economy is extremely dependent on modern business air travel. Not only was it one of the most effective mainstays of the 20th century, but without it, little would get accomplished so efficiently in the business world. Despite cutting-edge technology that allows us to make “virtual screen visits” to most corners of the global business community, there will always be a good argument to be made that the single most effective way to consummate business is face-to-face and in person. And, the most effective way to do this is via private aircraft.