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BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 4:18 am

From Gregg Easterbrook's blog at tnr.com:


Rumor holds that Boeing has built some BBJs with full bedrooms, king beds, and full-sized shower stalls. It would be nice, maybe, to think that a few lucky, glamorous people were using king-bed luxo-planes for wild airborne sex. The more likely reality--beyond the improbability of nooky when airsick--is that grotesquely overpaid executives are sitting alone in the flying bedroom suites, lonely, surfing the Internet and wondering what else they could buy to make themselves feel important.

The piece doesn't so much take exception with the existence of BBJs/ACJs, of course, but rather the public companies that buy them. Ironically enough, outgoing Boeing CEO Condit was pictured just last week in the New York Times Magazine in the Boeing BBJ.

Boeing boss Philip Condit resigned yesterday, and they are toasting with Champagne lattes in Seattle--Condit is the guy who moved Boeing headquarters from the Rain City to the Windy City, Chicago. Boeing fortunes have been rocky pretty much since the moment of the move; the aerospace gods may be punishing the company for turning its back on the city and the workers that made it great.

Anyway, it's a brief, amusing, relatively thought-provoking piece. To this uninformed observer, an entire 737 to oneself, or a small group of top executives, does seem like overkill. (Now, for a company like say, DaimlerChrysler, an all-J 737 would probably make quite a bit of sense.) If I were running a company, I could probably come up with some better ways to spend that money. But who knows, maybe that's why I'm not running one  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 4:25 am

maybe they built the planes for those who are lucky enough to afford transportation like that for themselves?
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 4:36 am

ohh but this is the best part!:

It's believed that several developing-world nations have bought BBJs or ACJs so that presidents or dictators can enjoy the feeling of flying above their starving citizens in their very own Air Force One.

would someone tell this guy that the USNavy and AirForce operate several BBJs (C-40s)? And most of these 3rd world starving countries already have "AirForce One"s of their very own, ranging from F.28s to 747s. Why is this news? Corruption isn't new... and look at it this way, if they are buying ACJs or BBJs, they arent buying Migs or Mirages...

Strictly from the sales totals, we can deduce that at least some Fortune 500 companies must have purchased a Boeing or Airbus CEO's luxo-jet, and are not fessing up. Most are likely to be public companies, and thus supposedly accountable to shareholders. Is the extravagant executive jetliner the next corporate scandal waiting to happen?

deduce all you want, every single BBJ and ACJ can be traced online. Ownerships, registry, etc. are all available on several websites on the web.
And yes several Fortune 500 companies have bought BBJs, so what? several also roster 727s, DC-9s, Dc-8s and so on and have for YEARS, haven't seen any scandals yet...

Articles like these annoy the heck out of me. MOST BBJs/ACJs are being used as corporate shuttles (like DaimlerChrystler, GE, Ford, even Airbus and Boeing themselves) and of course the article fails to mention the new popular Privatair BBJ/ACJ trans-atlantic services for Lufthansa. If Greg Norman wants to buy himself a BBJ, so be it, he's got the money, he travels enough, i don't have a problem with it. Microsoft has an entire fleet of Boeing 757s... no problem there either...

Yet another piece of ridiculously unfounded journalism...
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 6:38 am

It's only scandalous if it can be proven such aircraft were used by company employees for personal trips, and even then they can claim there was some reimbursement deal. As proven by Dennis Kozlowski among others, once you reach the upper echelons of the corporate world you can pretty much do what you want, as long as it's not illegal.
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 7:09 am

Chill out, the author isn't making anything up, he's *speculating*. Anyone with grade 9 analytical skills can clearly denote the difference between outright accusation and lying. Furthermore, the article seems to written tongue in cheek, look at the title for heaven's sake!
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:10 am

Greg Norman buying a plane. I think he might be in for a rude shock when he discovers he can't change the design and they won't make major changes after production has started (a la his $100M yacht).  Wink/being sarcastic
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:29 am

Maybe the companies who purchase the BBJ do so because it actually allows them to be better at their jobs, that is, more efficient, and allows them to produce more income for their company. If an executive(s) has traveling to do which is part of his/her job, and can do the traveling more efficiently in a BBJ, therefore producing more revenue for the company, this is a good thing. Does anyone go into business without a desire to make a profit?

Just think, an executive(s) can have the convenience of a large aircraft, with all the necessities and conveniences of their offices while they are traveling. A large staff and appropriate equipment can be brought along, so that the executive can make best use of his/her time. A BBJ will probably pay for itself because of the increase in productivity of the person(s) who use them. The purchase of a BBJ should not be viewed as a cost but a valuable investment.

As for as the bed, showers, etc. go, how nice it must be for an executive to be refreshed when he/she arrives at the destination, ready to do what he/she does best. Juxtapose this with traveling commercial. One crucial staff member missing a connecting flight, not being able to go and come when it is appropriate, arriving at your destination late and losing a valuable contract, getting to your destination with just enough energy to turn down the covers and pass out in some hotel bed somewhere, etc.

If a company or individual has the wherewithal to purchase the ultimate corporate jet, then that person should be admired for giving our economy a boost and giving the rest of us an example of an American dream.

God bless the USA, we have the finest country on earth. We produce the finest airplanes, we have a phenomenal economy, the most stable political structure, and a lot of people/companies who can afford the BBJ. I'll bet those executives using the BBJs have produced countless jobs for our economy.

As far as the two-bit dictators around the world, flying high in Boeing jets, who cares? Human suffering has been around since the beginning and will always be a part of this earth. Are we going to stop it by prohibiting them from purchasing US products? If those wankers want to spend their money in the US, great! More American jobs are created and we will have more tax dollars to deal with these clowns.

The article is a silly and whiny piece of journalism from a biased newspaper. The author obviously doesn't get the point of executive travel. Boeing saw a market (that is a group of consumers who have a desire/demand for a product) and is trying to capture it. Why would a company have to "fess up" about purchasing a tool of their trade? Look at the numbers (specifications) of the BBJ versus the other corporate jets. There is much more value in the BBJ with the much larger capacity than other, smaller corporate jets, with a relatively small increase in fuel burn.

If I were part of a company with a BBJ, I would stand tall, with my head held high, and announce to anyone that I was proud of purchasing one of this country's finest products. When a BBJ is displayed around the world, doesn't this speak well of the US and the citizens of the US?
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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:43 am

"When a BBJ is displayed around the world, doesn't this speak well of the US and the citizens of the US?" <-To me it speaks well of Boeing, and whatever company/individual owns the BBJ, and nothing else..

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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:56 am

Daimler knows that their ACJ will save them a ton of money. Detroit - Stuttgart isn't a popular route with the travelling public so fares are high.

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RE: BBJs/ACJs: "the Next Corporate Scandal?"

Wed Dec 03, 2003 12:16 pm

I don't think anyone sees anything even slightly scandalous about a professional golfer owning a personal BBJ, or a movie star owning a restored 707, or, let's say, a software magnate owning a fleet of 747's (with an A380 or two on order for good measure.) Nor is anyone condemning BCA or Airbus for producing a very large business jet; the market clearly exists and their shareholders expect it to be exploited.

The point of the article was more along the lines of asking what CEO of a publicly held company needs access to a personal 737? The title was at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek but still a pretty valid question. When does a CEO need full access to a 737 with seating for 12? Under what circumstances would a Gulfstream V be insufficient?

Personally, I'm inclined to believe that a G-V would be the more prudent use of shareholders' money, but I'm also uninformed when it comes to this particular topic. I'm genuinely interested in learning about what corporate circumstances warrant the purchase of a BBJ/ACJ for the CEO and the considerable operational expenses entailed therein.

I'm very receptive to the idea that a BBJ will enable the a CEO to run a more profitable ship, which would go a long way to negating the cost of a BBJ/ACJ. But as a shareholder of any company that owns/operates one for the use of its chief executive, I'd expect justification that it's earning the company money and me a return on my investment. $60 million here, $5 million there -- pretty soon, it adds up. And if my company deferred its annual raises and my CEO flew around in a personal 737 ... I think standing upright with pride would not be at the forefront of my impulses.

Note that I fully recognize and realize the obvious value of jetliner ownership for frequently flying nonexistant or high-fare routes like Detroit-Stuttgart. That's great -- that's an effective use of company cash. What I, personally, am less sold on is an entire 737-size jetliner dedicated to the needs of a single or single-digit number of employees. If BBJs/ACJs represent a Dennis Kozlowski-style looting of shareholders and company money, then shareholders and employees could (and perhaps should) revolt. And that's all the author of the article was trying to say.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune

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