Let's keep flying – boldly

The public vilification and humiliation late last year of the chief executives of the top three US carmakers following their ill-advised use of private jets to appear before Congress asking for a bailout is a curt reminder of how fragile the reputation of business aviation really is.

What started as a pummelling by the national press and Washington politicians of the misguided Messrs Mulally, Nardelli and Wagoner rapidly turned into a witch hunt against all operators of business aircraft - symbols of profligacy and elitism to their accusers.

The speed of this public opinion coup stunned the industry and brought to mind the attitudes of uneducated observers less than a decade ago when private jets were widely regarded as admirals' barges and toys for the rich and famous.

The industry has worked tirelessly to prove that corporate aircraft are effective tools that help businesses to expand into global markets, create jobs and generate tax revenues. It must not allow old prejudices to dominate the minds of politicians who, after all, set the agenda for business aviation.

So, business aviators - gather your breath and come out fighting. Boldly and without apology assert the vital support these aircraft give to the wider economy, educate the ill-informed and encourage companies to continue flying without fear of reprisals.

© Reed Business Information 2009

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