The fear of the Coronavirus has disrupted airline travel and corporate travel to and from infected areas. It has turned the stock market on its ear. World markets are suffering from everything from supply chain issues to goods manufactured in areas like China. What does it mean for private aviation?
This is a good time to think about what private aviation does for those who can afford the investment. Our industry is constantly on message about productivity gains by flying privately. You only have to take one private business flight to an out of the way location to realize how much time flying private saves you and your team. We have even developed a free productivity calculator available on our web site to compare airline flights to your own personal aircraft to see the savings in time and dollars saved by enhanced productivity.
However, when an event like Coronavirus comes along, it is a reminder that there are other contributing factors to why people choose to fly privately. These are much harder to quantify in dollars and cents. In fact, I am not sure there is a way to place a dollar value on peace of mind.
One of the reasons the rich and famous fly privately is the security private travel offers. Many large company boards require their executives to fly on private aircraft for these types of security issues. We live in a bad world with bad actors. I don’t think many stockholders, if they thought seriously about it, would want their top executives subject to these kinds of security risks.
The Coronavirus is a health issue that at the time of this writing we do not know how serious it will be here in the US. We know that it has severely disrupted public events from sporting events to plays and shows. It is also a reminder of another benefit of flying privately. Traveling with known associates in a plane that is properly cleaned and disinfected is a huge peace of mind.
Our industry has to be careful and please don’t lump me into a group that is trying to profit off a pandemic. However, the facts are, this will not be the last pandemic the world faces. We have had SARS, MERS and now this one in the past few years. We also have wide spread influenza strains that keep involving into more serious symptoms.
The cost of flying private is not cheap. We can justify part of the cost by the productivity factors that are measurable in real dollars. But there are other factors that you cannot quantify and there are real benefits. I know that I would much rather jump in my Cirrus than to get on with 180+ of my closest friends that some may be the walking dead with some type of illness.
Pandemics are bad and there will be more. As our world continues to shrink and business is done all over the globe, the value of the privacy afforded by flying private is a valuable tangible. After this health issue is over, perhaps it is time to dust off the other benefits of flying privately?