LEA calls industry to promote time saving benefits


Patrick Margetson-Rushmore calls on business aviation industry to rein in luxury message

Patrick Margetson-RushmorePatrick Margetson-Rushmore,
chief executive of London Executive Aviation is calling on the business
aviation industry to promote time-saving benefits rather than luxury messages
in its marketing this summer.

Speaking ahead of the annual
meeting of the British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA) this
month, Margetson-Rushmore says: “After a very tough recession, charter
operators stand to do good business this summer, thanks to Euro 2012 and the
Olympics. However, we risk squandering the chance of a sustained recovery after
these events if we don’t portray ourselves intelligently.”

“The BBGA and the European
Business Aviation Association do a great job in communicating the invaluable
benefits we offer, namely efficient and convenient travel. But there is still a
temptation for many operators to emphasise ‘the champagne lifestyle’ in their
marketing, which is self-defeating folly given the general public mood,”
Margetson-Rushmore continues. “The zeitgeist is still very critical of
excessive City bonuses, so it is vital we distance ourselves from so-called
‘corporate greed’. We should instead promote the true value of business
aviation, which is all about saving precious time, an important ingredient for
the economic recovery that will benefit us all.”

“After the ‘tarring and
feathering’ our reputation received during the credit crunch, there is a lot of
PR damage our industry has to repair,” he says. “The BBGA can lead the way, but
can only succeed if we present a united front. Only once we have detoxified the
public’s perceptions of chartering an aircraft can a sustained industry
recovery truly get underway.”

According to
Margetson-Rushmore, the Olympics offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to
improve the public’s understanding of business aviation. “The fact is we have
an essential role to play in the south-east’s overstretched air transport
system. The Olympics will bring a huge number of people into London and our major airports will struggle
to handle this volume. Heathrow
Airport operated at 99.2%
of its annual limit for flights in 2011 and has severe capacity issues. On its
busiest days during the Olympics, Heathrow expects to handle 138,000
passengers, a 45% increase over normal levels. This increase is despite takeoff
and landing slots at Heathrow being reduced during the Games from around 43 to
36 per hour. Therefore, not only will business aviation allow many to visit London without delays, but we will also be taking an
important share of the strain on London’s
travel infrastructure. This is a story we should be promoting.”

Euro 2012 gives operators
another chance to promote messages of time-saving and value, according to LEA’s
chief executive. “Fans travelling abroad face significant challenges because of
where the matches are to be played, and these problems could worsen if England is as
successful as we hope. Fans may need to shuttle between Donetsk
and Kiev in Ukraine to support the team in the
group stages, which could be a challenge as the cities are more than 400 miles
apart. If England make the
semi-finals, supporters may have to fly to Warsaw to watch the match. And, if the team
gets to the final, fans may need to fly back to Kiev.”

With limited options for
scheduled air and ground transportation, this situation is almost a case study
for why business aviation is so invaluable, says Margetson-Rushmore. “Rather
than losing days or weeks out of the office, fans chartering aircraft with
their friends could fly out to see all the live action and be home again within
hours. Splitting air charter costs between six or eight passengers could make
the expense per person very attractive, especially when you factor in savings
on hotels and ground transportation. Explained in this way, the financial
attractions of what we offer become far clearer and less elitist to potential

“Summer 2012 offers us all a
great showcase for what we do as an industry,” Margetson-Rushmore concludes. “I
hope we take advantage of the opportunity in a way that yields us the maximum
mutual, lasting benefit.”