European heavy weight

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Business aviation has a compelling story to tell in terms of its contribution to the European economy, but we face strong headwinds in the form of a negative public perception. To help us overcome this public image turbulence, EBAA commissioned the study Economic impact of business aviation in Europe in late 2015 to help us better understand this conundrum and how it impacts policy and decision makers.

One of the most important conclusions of the study was to demonstrate that the more people know about business aviation, the more they appreciate its value. It recommended that we, as an industry, reach out more effectively to explain our contribution, how we function and who we are.

Economic impact

Therefore, to increase awareness of the importance and value of the sector, we commissioned a study by management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton on the economic impact of business aviation on the European economy. The recently published study shows that, in terms of its economic contribution in Europe, business aviation punches above its weight. Some 371,000 jobs, including manufacturing, are associated with business aviation, worth €21bn (US$23.9bn) in labor compensation and €27bn (US$30.7bn) in gross value added to the economy. The total output is worth a staggering €100bn (US$113.9bn)!

Importantly, the study also quantifies, for the first time in Europe, the less tangible reasons why business people will pay more than simply buying a commercial ticket – time savings and connectivity. On average, 20% of business aviation flights save passengers up to five hours over their best commercial alternatives. This is because business aviation can fly direct, rather than through hubs like most airlines. And for the other 80%, business aviation still beats any alternative forms of direct transport (including air transport) by more than two hours, on average.

This is because business aviation serves over 25,000 airport pairs in Europe not connected by commercial airlines. This means that some 200,000 business aviation flights a year would simply not take place if it were not for business aviation.

Cutting edge

One of the reasons why our industry makes such a powerful contribution to the European economy is because of the investment in cutting-edge technology. It’s companies like Dassault and Daher in France, Pilatus in Switzerland, Piaggio in Italy, Diamond in Austria, and so many others in the rest of Europe, that maintain Europe’s edge in aeronautics – second only to the USA – thanks to spending roughly between 2.5% and 3% of total turnover on R&D.

And, as more than an industry, as a community, we are constantly working to bolster the efficacy of business travel, such as by improving efficiency and increasing capacity at airports and on runways. For instance, we are working with the GSA (European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency), which is in charge of satellite-based precision approaches, to identify those airports essential to business aviation and speed up the release of such precision approaches, through the use of localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV).

Community

Safety is another area where our focus on continuous improvement is unrelenting. Our latest initiative is to promote a deeper and wider sharing of experience among the business aviation community through an innovative web-based platform. E-SORS (the EBAA Safety Occurrence Reporting System) will allow all business aviation stakeholders – such as operators, MROs, FBOs, etc – to share information on occurrences in order to strengthen the knowledge base of learning by doing and disseminating a ‘just culture’ among the business aviation community.

I think we have a powerful message in terms of our economic, time-savings and connectivity contribution to European business, as well as our strong investment in technology, infrastructure efficiency, and safety. Join us at EBACE on May 24-26, in Geneva, Switzerland, to take part in the dialog, touch and feel the leading edge technology, and to be part of the European business aviation community.

About the author

Fabio Gamba was appointed CEO of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) in September 2011. He runs the EBAA business from the Association’s Brussels headquarters in Belgium, and has taken on the significant role of actively liaising with EBAA members and further enhancing the association’s relationship with Europe’s chief decision-making bodies.

May 11, 2016

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About Author

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Kirstie worked full-time on Business Airport International for over two years and is now a freelance journalist. Away from her writing commitments, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or training for her next charity run.

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