After the 2010 earthquake struck Haiti there were more than 4,500 relief flights were made by private jets in the first 30 days transporting 3,500 passengers, and over 1,000,000 pounds of cargo and supplies.
At Van Nuys, the busiest general aviation airport in the United States, private jets contribute $1.3 billion annually, supporting over 12,300 jobs and generating some $707 million in wages, according to City of Los Angeles statistics.
“We employ 1.2 million people in the U.S. and contribute $150 billion to the economy. We are one of the few industries with a trade surplus. We create very high paying jobs—pilots, dispatchers, maintenance, manufacturing,” NetJets Chairman Jordan Hansell told me during a 2012 interview for Elite Traveler. “Business aviation makes an economic contribution in all 50 states, and right here in Ohio general aviation is responsible for approximately 17,000 jobs and more than $490 million in annual payroll. We have to look for opportunities to get better at sharing the facts about what we bring to the table. We have the truth on our side.”
This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign. Dubbed “One Industry,” it has been “pivotal in turning around the perception of business aviation by opinion leaders and the general public,” according to the National Business Aviation Association.
Below is how NBAA describes the progress:
The No Plane No Gain campaign was officially launched Feb. 17, 2009, and is a joint effort of NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). When the campaign began in 2009, U.S. businesses and business aviation were facing formidable challenges. The world economy was mired in the Great Recession, and after executives from America’s auto manufacturers flew to Washington, DC aboard business airplanes to ask for taxpayer assistance, subjecting business aviation to scathing and unwarranted criticism.
At the campaign’s launch – announced during GAMA’s 2009 Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook Briefing – GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce noted: “The contributions of business aviation to our nation’s employment, commerce, competitiveness and health are profound but not always well understood.” No Plane No Gain, Bunce said, would be a “multimedia” campaign to get the word out about business aviation’s value.
The two associations pledged to include the production and placement of paid advertising among the program’s multimedia efforts, and the campaign immediately began delivering on that commitment with its first major print and television ads, titled “One Industry.” The ads not only reinforced the No Plane No Gain message to a beleaguered industry; they offered to the opinion-shapers in the nation’s capital a succinct, compelling declaration of business aviation’s value.
“What if one industry could generate millions of manufacturing and service jobs right here, in America?” suggested an authoritative voiceover in the TV ad, who went on to ask if one industry could also connect communities, enhance business productivity and provide emergency relief. “Well,” concluded the voiceover, “business aviation already does.”
NBAA and GAMA purchased air time for the TV ad on the major public affairs shows routinely viewed by Washington policymakers, including ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and FOX’s “FOX News Sunday.” Additional placements were carried on DC-area cable television networks including FOX, CNN, CNBC and MSNBC. The ad would ultimately be carried in 82 FBOs across the nation.
Soon after the ad began airing, policymakers and opinion leaders took notice. NPR News correspondent Peter Overby broadcast a story about the campaign, in which he declared the ad was “tailor-made for the Sunday talk shows” watched each week by Washington, DC decision-makers.
Print advertisements in national periodicals like The Wall Street Journal and USA Today complemented the TV outreach effort, with additional placements in periodicals read by federal legislators and regulators, such as The Hill, Politico and Roll Call.
The ads provided a reminder that business aviation is not only important, but essential to the nation’s transportation system and economy, said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen at the time. “Furthermore, it’s an industry that’s made up of hard-working professionals,” he added.
The “One Industry” advertisements of 2009 were just the start of a host of initiatives NBAA and GAMA would undertake in the coming months and years to promote business aviation over the coming five years.
No doubt general aviation is a major contributor to the economy. I always say the people on private jets are the idea creators and job generators who keep the economy moving forward. Clearly the facts are loud and clear.