Corporate Flight Department Fleet Planning

Author By Jim Lara

How does a CEO, CFO or Director of Aviation know if their corporate flight department fleet planning process is really meeting the needs of their organization?

In the following video, Jim Lara and Steve Brechter explain how Gray Stone Advisors partners with corporate flight departments to put together very precise, yet custom fleet plans and models to meet the unique needs of each business aviation client.

Corporate Flight Department Fleet Planning


VIDEO: Corporate Flight Department Fleet Planning

Read the transcript

Jim Lara: When we take a look at an organization’s existing fleet, the first thing we do is take a look at history to see how they’ve actually used the aircraft from a tactical perspective and from a strategic perspective.

Then, of course, we have to take a look, prospectively, at how the aircraft are going to be used in the future.

Both of those perspectives are melded together, along with the intangible desires and preferences of the executive travelers to give us a very clear pattern on current use and future use. And it’s then, and only then, that we’re armed with the facts to proceed in the planning process.

Steve Brechter: And some of the things you may not think about would be, in the future, what types of organizational changes are going to take place that will affect the travel patterns of the executives that use business aviation.

Typically when we get finished with one of these studies, we know an awful lot about the organization’s direction and strategic plan — more so than the internal constituent groups in the organization.

But what that allows us to do is to put together a very precise model of what the future needs are going to be. Because sometimes, but not all the time, past historical demand profiles are indicative of the future, but sometimes not. And what we do when we present back to senior management is we present this data in very simple and specific forms. And, it’s often, Jim, I think it’s often amusing to watch the expressions in the conference room when they see the actual portrayal of what their demand and capacity relationships are.

Jim Lara: So many times we have these executive “A-ha” moments, which are really quite illuminating.

And, then, of course, if they’re under contract for the delivery of a new aircraft, many times we help them go back to the manufacturer and adjust those contractual commitments to meet the real needs of the corporation.

So melding the skills and desires of the executive team—treasury, accounting, flight operations—and taking into considering cash flow requirements, impact to earnings, etc., etc.—putting all of those stakeholders together andachieving the optimum outcome, that’s the true definition of fleet planning.

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