What is Private Aviation?

by Patti Squire

Upon meeting new people, I usually answer the inevitable question “What do you do?” with “I’m in Private Aviation”.  Frequently the questioner either looks confused or their eyes light up with visions of movie stars and famous people.  The reality of Private Aviation is neither mysterious nor exclusively for the rich and famous.  I generally tell people who ask that it’s like a limo in the sky, but that’s really only one very small part of it.

Most people haven’t given too much thought to Private Aviation, other than what they see and read in the news about how the ‘rich and famous’ travel.  They do not understand that it is an important industry in the United States.  Private Aviation is a major contributor to the U.S GDP.  It contributes $150 Billion (that’s with a B!) to the U.S. economy and employs over 1.2 million people.  The majority of aircraft are manufactured, maintained, & serviced right here in the U.S.  Some of the jobs included in the 1.2 million are manufacturers, pilots, dispatchers, maintenance technicians, schedulers, airport support personnel, training personnel, caterers, ground transportation providers, etc.  Not to mention Government oversight jobs!
You have heard that saying, “you can’t get there from here!.”  With Private Aviation you can get much closer!  Private Aviation services roughly 5,000 more airports than scheduled airlines.  This is important to note when considering the value of time.  Instead of flying on a scheduled airline to one of the airline hubs and driving an hour or so to the destination and back, Private Aviation can get you much closer. For example, consider an aircraft owner who has business locations scattered throughout the Midwest.  He is able to visit his plants, sometimes several in a day, and get back home to dinner with his family.  That’s just not possible with scheduled airlines.

Another service not readily recognized that Private Aviation provides is transportation for organ transplants.  Timing is critical and private aircraft carry medical teams and also organs on life saving missions.  Air Care Alliance, Angel Flight, and Corporate Angel Network are just a few of the humanitarian organizations which utilize Private Aviation.
Private Aviation has also responded to natural disasters by delivering recovery teams and supplies.  In 2010, more than 1,400,000 pounds of critical supplies were flown to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.  The local supplies donated and delivered to Hurricane Sandy relief is well documented.  LR Services was the first company based at ABE to send an aircraft loaded with relief supplies to the collection point in New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy. These are just two examples of the humanitarian contributions that are made via the use of Private Aviation.

So you see, there is more to Private Aviation than flying famous people!  The Private Aviation Industry is critical to the infrastructure of the United States.  In terms of economics, employment, and the success of business, Private Aviation plays a vital part.  For more information, contact NBAA.org.

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