Private Jets for Business Travel: Part 2 |

“It takes a while to introduce new planes into the system,” said Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, a trade group.
Adam Webster, co-founder and chief executive of rsvpair, an air charter directory, agreed. “The jets are still a million dollars a pop,” he said.

One cheaper option for both companies and wealthy individuals is fractional jet ownership. At Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets, a leading fractional-ownership company, one-sixteenth of a plane (or 50 hours of yearly flying time) starts at about $400,000. A recent innovation called fractional jet cards can be had for around $100,000, but come with a limited number of hours and restrictions on when they can be used.
The new jets also may mean viable air-taxi service. DayJet Corp., based in Delray Beach, Fla., has ordered 309 Eclipse planes and plans to start flying point-to-point service this year. Chief Executive Ed Iacobucci said passengers could pay $1 to $3 per mile.

The new jets could pose financial challenges for commercial airlines, which are suffering financially. Already, business jets tend to siphon away first-class passengers and those who buy full-fare tickets at the last minute. The FAA said last week that the mainline carriers lost a net $10.3 billion in 2005, after losing $6 billion in 2004. Low-cost and regional carriers also lost money — $2.5 billion — in 2005, the FAA said.
The coming of very light jets also poses potential problems for air-traffic control. FAA officials worry about congestion on some runways and in the skies, where more planes may be crowding the same airspace.

While these planes are small, they can fly at high altitudes alongside commercial carriers. And they require the same amount of attention from air-traffic controllers as do larger aircraft, particularly if they fly through congested air space.

To handle the demand from small planes — coupled with rising demand from the commercial carriers, expected to carry 1 billion passengers by 2015 — the FAA says it must upgrade technology to allow more planes to move through the air at once.

“It’s time to invest in a new system,” said Russell Chew, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization.

Vern Raburn, chief executive of Eclipse Aviation, said planes like the Eclipse 500 are likely to fly into small, underused airports and therefore won’t clog the system. The Eclipse needs only 2,200 feet of runway to take off or land, opening up community airports.

GAMA, the manufacturers’ trade group, says the U.S. has about 19,800 landing facilities; commercial airlines, which need much longer runways, use fewer than 500 of those.

“What excites airports about light jets is that their price and size opens up general aviation to airports that couldn’t handle the larger jets,” says Barbara Patzner, airport director of Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., which has a 5,000-foot runway and a 7,000-foot runway. “If you are an executive and you need to get to Augusta, Maine, you can fly a very light jet and be up there in 20 minutes.”

Controlling Business Travel Costs |

Sometimes when we are traveling on business, it is easy to let costs get out of control. But if you are working from a per Diem or have other constraints on your travel budget, you should learn some cost cutting methods that you can put into effect that won’t make your life miserable on the road.

These cost-cutting ideas are not just to stay out of trouble with the budget people back at the home office. Often businesses have a set budget for business travel and once it is gone, no further trips can be made during that budget year. So if you anticipate the need for more business trips in the months ahead, it is prudent to keep an eye on costs as you go so you can conserve that limited budget to facilitate important trips yet to come.

Economizing on the road can be difficult because you are put right in the middle of the hospitality industry which, while good at making you feel comfortable and providing for your needs, hotels and restaurants are also good at running up your tab. But there are some easy ways to sidestep a lot of unnecessary spending so you can stretch your business travel budget – Here are a few.

* Eat before you go. Airport restaurants or snack bars are notoriously overpriced. So even if you are leaving early in the morning, have breakfast and get well satisfied before leaving home so you don’t have to buy food en route.

* Wise packing. Think through your life in the hotel and on the road. You can buy travel sizes of almost everything you will need. Moreover, you can pack some light and easy to carry snacks such as trail mix, candy bars or nuts that can be used to hold you over during the trip until you can get a good meal. By being self-dependent during the trip, you save a lot by not using airport services.

* A hotel is just a bed, a shower and a TV. When booking your accommodations, think about where you should stay. If you don’t need a luxury hotel, don’t book one. If you are just staying the night in one place and then moving on, a clean, well run motel can take care of you just as well as the executive suite at a luxury hotel.

* Share that ride. If you are traveling as a party, or you are meeting business partners at the destination, you can share cabs or rental vehicles and save business costs as well as conserve on burning fossil fuels unnecessarily.

* Markets and delis. You can even eat economically in a big town like New York or Orlando by using the same sense you have at home. By taking an early trip to a nearby grocery store, you can stock your room with fruits and travel foods and cut down on the amount of meals you have to eat out.

* Public transportation. If the town you’re traveling to has safe and workable subways or other public transpiration, that can be much more efficient for you than renting a car. Washington DC for example has outstanding rail transport that you can use rather than rent a car.

By using the same good common sense you execute at home to keep expenses under control, you can not only live inexpensively on the road, you can actually live better. And by not allowing yourself to be overcharged for some very basic goods and services, you will feel better about your business outing and become known in your company as a smart traveler.