Ian Twombly

Are you kidding me?

June 10, 2009 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

Newsflash from Reuters: Highflying CEOs are still flying their private jets. So says the story this morning picked up by MSNBC. According to the story, private aircraft perks are still being awarded to CEOs. This from a coporate compensation study from Equilar.

While I’m not one to typically bash the so-called mainstream media, this story has me fuming for a number of reasons. First, it’s not news. Of course people are still flying corporate. Did the writer really think the entire industry would vanish after the automakers flew to Washington? I just heard Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. Somebody should tell Reuters.

But of course this isn’t the real problem. The story is biased and is so clearly an attempt at eliciting an emotional response that it belongs on an editoral page, not as news. Come on, “highflying U.S. corporate chiefs”? I didn’t realize “highflying” was a title. Since when is it OK for a supposedly impartial news source to lead the reader to the writer’s intended conclusion? It’s absurd.

But if there was any doubt as to the story’s slant, we come to the end and realize there’s no question as to where the writer, editor, and therefore, Reuters, stands. Because the only evidence that’s given for the continuation of flying is the compensation survey. There’s no mention of the tens of thousands of jobs lost this year in general aviation. No mention of business aviation activity dropping off as much as 40 percent. There’s only a few numbers that say yes, CEOs at the largest 100 companies fly on corporate aircraft.

I’m sorry if the writer is so bitter with flying coach that he or she feels the need to start (continue?) class warfare on executives. But if truth and objectivity are the goals of a journalist, maybe the writer should learn to fly and realize the problem is not private aviation. Words are a powerful thing, especially to the hundreds of thousands of people around the country involved in GA that contribute billions to our national economy.

9 Responses to “Are you kidding me?”

  1. Paul Says:

    Well in that case, the author better make a case against the helicopters flying just to report traffic congestion and other minor news, better try and stop his/her media mogul bosses using their private jets to go all over the world and better try and make other reporters fly economy instead of business class on their working trips….oh that’s right, they need it for their business, much like many of the CEOs who currently use corporate aviation to great effect to do business.

  2. Rich Says:

    Ian, be part of the solution.

    Call up Reuters and offer their reporter a lesson in a small jet or twin prop as well as get them hooked up with folks who aren’t fat cats and depend on the planes that articles like that are endangering.

  3. Ian Twombly Says:

    Rich, you’re absolutely right. I should contact Reuters and offer a response. Unfortunately, MSNBC didn’t list the author’s name or contact info, and I couldn’t find the story on Reuters with a brief search. The only thing I could do was make a comment on a separate Web service that MSNBC links to for reader feedback. Interestingly, other pilots must have caught on because the feedback was largely negative. I tried to appeal to the writer’s professional sense (assuming he or she reads these things) and I pointed out the incomplete nature of the story.

  4. Lee Makefield Says:

    While I agree with the point that Reuters shouldn’t be so biased, AOPA should also look in the mirror. As a pilot, I’m tired of AOPA blindly defending GA with weak arguments (and having to counter them to my friends in other industries who talk about GA needing the kids gloves to compete). Mentioning the jobs lost while sad news, is not a reason to defend an industry. It’s a weak argument that sounds like GA needs welfare just to keep jobs, should the horse drawn buggy been kept in order to keep the jobs? GA will survive because it is needed, not because we need sympathy to survive.

    While we love our airplanes, not everybody does, get over it. And while jobs are lost, business aviation is down and GA companies hurting, it isn’t all because of the automakers flying to DC and the subsequent fallout. A big part of it is because in these times, many can’t afford to fly, including companies that relied on it in the past. In these times many businesses, including those related to GA, are going to disappear. It’s sad, but unavoidable. Stop pretending that GA is some sort of hallowed ground that can’t be touched because somebody might lose their jobs. That’s happening EVERYWHERE.

  5. john wrycza Says:

    I can SEE Corp. jets – how about the compensation that’s easily 10x the cost of charter flying?
    Its the compensation that I don’t see that is most likely much larger –
    How many of those same Corp. Exec’s have some country club memberships that could fuel the space shuttle a few times/year?
    And then there’s the yachts, healthcare coverage, golden parachutes

    Why do I suspect that its only because we can SEE the Corp. jets that they are newsworthy?

  6. David Reinhart Says:

    I disagree with Lee Mansfield. As a nation, we’ve been in manufacturing decline for decades. One area where this has not been the case is aviation. We need those aviation manufacturing jobs (and their related industries, like avionics) and the fuel for that demand is, by and large, corporate aviation.

    I do believe that a large number of aviation related jobs have been lost due to the fallout from the “Detroit Three” and the continued, and perhaps growing, negative perception of corporate aviation.

  7. Jim Bruchas Says:

    OBAMA jets to the Middle East and meets the Mrs and kids in Paris. They stay with an aircraft and fly to London and then home separately. This was ignored by the media. The writer knows nothing about business and thinks flying in Corporate jest is just fun and a perk. She has no concept that time is money. I bet as well that NBC execs fly around in Corporate jets all the time. Who does Warren Buffet’s Net Jets rent to? Even Nancy jets around, hypocrites ALL!

  8. Haruko Says:

    Hello AOPA editor,
    This comment is not related to the subject and I don’t want to be on this page.
    I just couldn’t find any other way to let the website know that there is a wrong airport information on the flight planning page.

    KDTO in Texas, north of Dallas has runway 18 – 36, but the runway configuration has 17 – 35 which is an old version.

    Why doesn’t AOPA show the e-mail contact info of the editor of this AOPA site to report mistake like this?

  9. home business Says:

    This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Best wishes!
    Exactly where are your contact details though?

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