As published in BusinessAir Volume 27 #6
Visit about any flight department and they can quote you a variety of facts and figures about their operation. They can tell you how many hours, cycles, fuel burn per hour, legs, average fuel price at home and away, passenger load and about anything else that you might want, or do they?
The question becomes are these the right metrics to help management understand the cost/value of the flight department or should there be something else? We feel there is a vital statistic that is missing.
Proving the value of the business aircraft as a productivity tool is an ongoing job. If you are one of those leaders, who think because your company has always had planes, we will always have a flight department, you are living in a very dangerous place. The countryside is littered with once very active flight departments that are now a mere skeleton of what once was, if even alive. I have seen this flaw in some otherwise very well run flight departments. They are ISBAO, they have good safety and operational policies, they fly nice equipment, they participate in leadership conferences, and they actively encourage their employees to better themselves. NBAA model citizens except, they are vulnerable.
What they are not tracking is the #1 selling factor our industry uses to justify an aircraft, time savings and added productivity. If this is our #1 sales tool as an industry, why aren’t we tracking these numbers just like we track hours flown and fuel burned etc.? It is a little bit like trying to sell a plane with a brochure. Sure you can tell everyone it is nice and spacious, comfortable seats, easy to move about the cabin, but if that is your primary difference between your competitor, you better have something real to back up your claims rather than just a picture.
Whether you want to just track the time savings and not the NBAA productivity factors is your call. However, being able to have a figure at the end of the year of the man hours saved is a powerful message that puts meat into the primary sales message. It can be done after the trip as a part of the post trip paperwork. It does not have to be complicated, and even if they aren’t asking for this data, presenting it as a line item will reinforce the value your department is adding.
If you don’t have the time to create your own calculator, we have a simple Productivity Calculator on our web site that is free to use. Reinforcing our #1 selling factor with facts will help you improve the sales message of why an aircraft is a value added tool.