by Mark L. Schmaltz

To the unenlightened, business jets are often thought of as the epitome of conspicuous consumption, a contemptible and wretched example of needless luxury. But among those who have experienced the convenience, security, and the globe-shrinking utility these machines have to offer, they are tools of great importance to business and professional life.

The latter view is easily supported by the phenomenal growth and development of the business jet industry. Twenty years ago there was only a handful of private aircraft based at L.A. airports. Today there are well over two hundred business jets based in southern California, nearly two-thirds of which are available for charter.

And the future is even brighter. Business jet manufacturers have invested enormous sums in the development of new models that offer speed, range, and creature comforts that easily exceed the usual amenities of first class air travel. And despite the fact that the acquisition cost of these aircraft is enough to make even the most sophisticated buyer turn pale with sticker shock, most new models are sold out at least a year in advance with some models having a two-year waiting list for delivery. It's a classic example of "if you build it, they will come."

What's all the excitement about? Imagine walking ten steps from your car to your airplane and departing Los Angeles for Rome, Moscow, or Rio de Janero non-stop. Imagine embarking on a ten-city tour in four days where your travel time is spent relaxing and preparing for your next meeting instead of sprinting through airport terminals to make your connections. Using a private jet enhances your lifestyle, allowing you to spend more time with family and adding unparalleled convenience to your everyday life. In short, a private jet affords you the ability to maximize your most important and finite resource: time.

Today's business world is a hyper-competitive environment that punishes business inefficiencies and rewards those who are first to arrive. Traveling in the privacy of a business jet helps you minimize distractions and stay focused. You don't have to worry about overheard conversations or unwanted interruptions. And when traveling with a group of associates or clients, your meeting is private and secure. Focus, productivity, and efficiency---they're the tools you need to maintain your competitive edge and nothing gives you more of them than a business aircraft.

For frequent international travelers, a private aircraft is a Chief of Security's dream. With a long range private jet at his disposal, he can protect senior management from the random dangers that plague international air travelers while completing a complex international itinerary. The aircraft can also serve very nicely as your mobile office on those far flung trips away from home.

Widespread use of business aircraft is being driven by advances in technology. Improvements in engine design are increasing fuel efficiencies and reducing the impact on the environment. New business aircraft are among the quietest in the air -- a quality much appreciated by airport neighbors. Advances in communications and navigation systems are enhancing safety of flight and transforming the concept of the airborne office from a dream to a reality. These phenomenal capabilities are quickly becoming indispensable tools for running the gauntlet of our global economy.

All this leads us to the question at hand, how do I best access these tools? A decision to rent, charter, lease, or purchase an aircraft will almost always be driven by the type of flights you intend to make and how often you intend to make them. For beginners, the best aviation companies, such as Spirit Aviation, offer ad hoc charter services that will put you in the aircraft that is most suitable for your needs. For more frequent fliers, charters offer innovative rental and charter programs that help you achieve the consistency and quality you demand. For those who already own a business jet or are considering the purchase of one, many aviation charter services can guide you through the process and furnish the expertise you need to make the best possible choices for aircraft, crew, and management.

Your entrepreneurial spirit and drive has been anticipated by the business jet industry. It is an industry that can offer you access to amazing machines that will increase your competitiveness, improve your mobility, and enhance your lifestyle.

Mark L. Schmaltz is President of Spirit Aviation.

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