Business aviation: a boon to corporate 'fat cats' or job creator for the local community?

By John Keller

Posted by John Keller

Hearing the Obama Administration's rhetoric on business aviation , and you'd think anyone who rides on a private jet is a criminal. Look up Obama corporate jets, and you get a litany from proposed increased taxes on business aviation, to accusations of fat-cat corporate executives who not only don't pay their fair share of taxes and fees, but who also, when using business aviation, somehow are robbing from the less fortunate.

It sounds like outright warfare waged by the Obama Administration on anyone who uses a business jet -- whether he or she needs it or not. There are some corporate leaders for whom private jets make sense, as using this general aviation asset helps keep their companies running and ahead of the competition, but that's beside my point.

I read a story in The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H., on Sunday, which clearly lays out some of the benefits of business aviation to the community at large, not just the so-called "fat cats" who use corporate jets.

The story, headlined "Ceremony will celebrate construction of new runway at Boire Field in Nashua ," discusses construction of a new runway at the general-aviation airport in Nashua, N.H., called Boire Field. This $16 million project, to be paid for primarily by grants from the FAA and New Hampshire Department of Transportation, breaks ground this week on a 6,000-foot level runway, which ultimately will replace an ageing 5,500-foot runway that has one end 10 feet lower than the other.

What caught my eye is the economic influence this project is expected to have. To begin with, the project will create more than 40 full-time jobs, and will be "a boon to most of the 30 businesses that revolve around the airport," reads the story, authored by The Telegraph's Joseph G. Cote.

A 6,000-foot runway isn't long enough to accommodate commercial aircraft, so don't expect to take an airline flight into our out of Boire Field anytime soon. Still, that extra 500 feet of runway should make all the difference for the business jets that use the airport.

The existing 5,500-foot runway isn't long enough for large corporate jets like the Gulfstream V to take off from Nashua with full fuel tanks -- especially on hot, humid days when all aircraft display relatively sluggish aerodynamic performance. That extra 500 feet of runway, however, will enable the biggest private jets operating from Boire Field to take off fully fueled, which increases range and efficiency.

The story points out other community benefits of the general aviation airport improvement project. The new runway also could mean more money for the airport from fuel taxes and for pilots who could take on more passengers per flight, the story reads.

So a project that on the surface might look to benefit only corporate "fat cats" actually will create jobs, enhance the local tax base, and improve efficiency for the local corporations that operate jets at Nashua.

Maybe we ought to think about this next time we hear President Obama or others in his administration attacking business aviation as only benefitting the rich.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
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