In a time of fiscal restraint, the use of corporate jets and airplanes for business trips has been scrutinized by government and media as an excessive, unnecessary expenditure.
But that’s not always so, said Paul Lips, editor of Airport Journal and organizer of Aircraft Experience held Thursday at Henderson Executive Airport.
Corporate executives who make million-dollar business decisions daily need the latest and most accurate information, which sometimes means flying to a particular location and talking to the right people, Lips said.
“It helps them make the best use of their time,” he said. “A lot of times, they may be a regional company in four or five states. They can hit 15 locations in a couple of days. They can go to smaller airports, places that are a lot more convenient than national airports. They don’t have the congestion.”
People who may normally consider propeller aircraft may now look at the new light jets that are bridging the gap, Lips said. They’re more advantageous for executives who fly greater distances, perhaps over several states.
The event drew about 550 people to look at business aircraft on display from some of the world’s top manufacturers, including Cessna, Piper, Hawker Beechcraft and Cirrus.
Cirrus showed its Vision SF50 personal jet, which will be delivered in 2011 at a target price of about $1.3 million and already has 383 deposits on orders. Alan Klapmeier, founder of the Duluth, Minn.-based company, attended the Henderson event.
General aviation contributes more than $150 billion to the national economy annually and employs about 1.2 million people, Lips said.
Jack Pelton, chairman and chief executive officer of Cessna, said: “We think it’s time the other side of the story be told and that support be given to those businesses with the good judgment and courage to use business aviation to not only help their businesses survive the current financial crisis, but more quickly forge a path toward an economic upturn.”
Lips said he was encouraged by Porsche to bring the Aircraft Experience to Las Vegas for the first time because the city is a significant market for luxury cars and airplanes. Porsche set up an autocross on the Henderson airport tarmac for test drives. Aircraft shows in California and Arizona have grown each year to about 1,800 attendance, he said.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at email@example.com or 702-383-0491.