At what point can you justify buying an airplane for your business?

If you are running a business of some scale, chances are you are traveling for business as well. How is that working for you? The days that business travel was fun are long gone. Welcome to the hassles of security, sold out flights and the inevitable connections and lay overs. The airline "hub and spoke" concept forces us to make endless connections at the hubs to all but the largest cities. This often makes flying to your destination a half day affair or worse. This can be different though. Hello to the business airplane.

I did a little experiment. A friend of mine and I both had to travel from Cincinnati to Miami. He flew Delta and I flew my airplane. We left home at exactly the same time. He went to CVG and I went to Lunken Airport, a municipal airport in Cincinnati. You probably know how his day went so I'll spare you those details. I showed up at the FBO and my plane was topped off and ready to go. I had filed my flight plan that morning and quickly pref-lighted the airplane. I was taxiing out within 15 minutes of arriving at the airport and in another 15 minutes I was airborne and well on my way to Miami. Once at cruising altitude, I had a cup of coffee, I had time to prepare for the meeting ahead. I landed at Opa Locka Airport, just north of Miami and took an UBER to the company on Miami Beach. As I exited the car, my friend pulled up in his taxi. We had arrived within 3 minutes of each other!

So, is private travel faster? No, at least not between Cincinnati and Miami. Is it less expensive? No, definitely not. But besides my flight being much more enjoyable, traveling between major cities is just a part of the advantage of a private plane. The advantage is much more apparent when traveling between multiple cities in one day or traveling to more out of the way places. Flying your own plane also gives you complete flexibility of when you can come or go. The equation also changes when you fly with more people as the cost of the flight can be divided per passenger. If you can fill up all the seats on your plane, the flight costs the same but the cost per person obviously drops and often will approach first class commercial ticket prices. It has also been my experience that many customers and vendors like private aircraft. They like dealing with successful people and owning a plane arguably puts you in that category. So, in the end, how do you justify it? First and foremost; you like it, that's how. You like the convenience and you like the feel. Welcome to the big league.

Look at your business. Would having access to an airplane change the way you do business? Do you often travel with a team or are you traveling alone? Is you business regional, national or international? Having owned different aircraft, I can tell you that owning a plane is like owning a car instead of taking the train. It's more expensive but boy is it fun, convenient and don't underestimate it as a business tool.


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