Business Aviation's Contribution to Economy
There is a definite and strong link between world's two-thirds of BA/GA aircraft being based in North America and the United States remaining the elite economic power.
A lot has been written about the direct and indirect contribution of business aviation (BA) to the economy of a nation. The direct impact of any business activity, to create employment, is beyond doubt and its indirect contribution to allied sectors would be a natural consequence. To understand the importance of business and general aviation (BA/GA) to a nation's economy, we would need to look beyond just the number of jobs being created or synergy being generated for other allied businesses. The real contribution of business aviation to country's economy lies in enabling effect it has on business captains and all those performing role of leader in any field where time is always at a premium. Countries which suffer from misplaced notion of business aviation being an elitist activity can never optimise their growth potential and, more importantly, miss out on ensuring its inclusive economic growth, leading to social inequality.
Defining and Understanding BA/GA: The simplified way of defining BA would be to relate it to all flying done for business purposes. If doing any business is not considered to be activity undertaken by elite class, then how using aircraft for doing business, more efficiently, is looked upon as an elitist activity, especially in India. In developed nations, business aircraft are flown by a broad cross-section of businesses and organisations, ranging in size from small to medium. Business aviation optimises performance of all companies that need efficiency, speed, flexibility and productivity as core elements to achieve their KRAs (key responsibility areas). Many such companies have core business activity based in remote areas, where scheduled commercial airlines have reduced or eliminated service, or where there is no commercial service to begin with. Most business aviation trips undertaken by these companies are time-critical, often carrying middle management and technical personnel needed to solve an urgent issue. It is through business aviation that companies, set up in remote areas, are able to meet their critical requirements concerning supplies and production facilities.
India's Aspirations to be World's Economic Power and BA/GA's Role. The new government in India seems focused on taking long-term measures to make India the leading economy of the world through sustained GDP growth and, our Finance Minister draws inspiration from repeatedly asserted fact that 9 to 10 per cent GDP growth of the nation is very much achievable on sustainable basis. However, the extra 2 to 3 per cent annual growth rate would only be possible if we, as a nation, realise and fully appreciate the importance of GA/BA. Most importantly, our policymakers must understand that through BA/GA operations our leaders in various fields achieve efficiency by optimal use of limited time available with them.
Our Prime Minister is showing the way by visiting most nations in the shortest span of time, hopping from one nation to another and building prospects for Indian business activities to expand in other countries. Such 'goodwill cum business' visits, I believe, are building blocks for India's march towards world's economic power. These visits at the highest level are followed by B2B visits by business captains of India using BA/GA aircraft. The remote/regional air-connectivity achieved by BA/GA operations would, inter alia, become the most effective tool to achieve inclusive economic growth of the nation. Government's ambitious plan to have 'high speed bullet trains' in the coming years should be seen in the same context of achieving 'inclusive economic growth' and 'optimal use of time' by our leaders in various fields of economic activity. BA/GA offers the additional benefit of flexibility over the 'high speed trains' and, that is the reason for BA/GA to be the preferred option when costs between the two options do not vary much. This phenomenon is very much evident in Europe and North America where BA/GA has been optimally developed.
Economic development of a nation to full potential takes place in sustainable manner only when it enables its citizens, especially the ones for who time is money, to optimally utilise the available hours
BA/GA in World's Leading Economies. There is a definite and strong link between world's two-thirds of BA/GA aircraft being based in North America and, United States remaining the elite economic power. While the robust airlines industry there provides affordable and efficient mode of transportation to general public, the highly efficient BA/GA industry makes it possible for businesses to develop and prosper in every nook and corner of the nation.
European Union, with second largest share of BA/GA fleet of the world, has similarly benefited, for long, to remain the leading economic power. In these nations too, as is the case with India, the commercial airlines serve only 20 per cent of the country's publicuse airports. BA/GA not only uses these airports, but also becomes sole provider of air-connectivity at the other 80 per cent of airports. Besides being important destinations for business flying, the operations of GA/BA fleet, from the smaller and remotely located 80 per cent airports, help support number of non-commercial aeronautical functions. These range from 'emergency preparedness for any contingency' and responses to agricultural surveying, aerial surveying, and energy exploration. Business aviation grants the much needed freedom to the companies, wanting to set up industry in remote areas, from the decisions made by commercial airlines on which market to serve.
BA/GA is for elite. The perception, in some corners about BA/GA being the elitist's tool, has caused the most damage to nation's efforts to push for 9 to 10 per cent GDP growth. The fact, as seen in the case of most economically developed nations, is that BA/GA, instead of being an elitist's tool, is used by nations to become an elite economy. Economic development of a nation to full potential takes place in sustainable manner only when it enables its citizens, especially the ones for who time is money, to optimally utilise the available hours. This, if realised soon, would catapult India into the league of world's most elite economies, earlier than projected. The other International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) documented 'output multiplier' (3.25) and 'employment multiplier' (6.10) effects of aviation industry are secondary to the long-term ability of BA/GA to propel our nation's economy growth towards achieving its full potential. It is the time, when government is working on strengthening the fundamentals of economy, to correct perceptions about GA/BA's role in national economy and achieve growth rate per our potential.