NBAA Survey Highlights Small Operator Concerns

 - October 11, 2016, 11:41 AM

Staffing, training and scheduling, along with managing relationships with aircraft owners, are among the top concerns for small flight departments, according to a recent survey conducted by NBAA’s small flight department subcommittee. It conducted the survey to identify unique concerns of flight departments that operate three or fewer business aircraft.  The survey drew responses from nearly 200 small fleet operators of 376 aircraft.

“Our hope is that through the study, and focusing on the results of the study, that we’re going to bring real tools to small flight department operators to help them operate better and safer,” said Dave Keys, chair of NBAA’s domestic operations subcommittee and a chief pilot at a small flight department.

The top three responses to the questions regarding challenges in day-to-day operations involved budgeting responses: “staffing, training and scheduling”; “aircraft, maintenance and facilities” and “financial budgeting overall.” 

One-third of the responses identified staffing, training and scheduling as one of the top three challenges in day-to-day operations. Meanwhile, 23 percent of the responses list aircraft, maintenance and facilities cost as the single biggest challenge they are facing this year.

Outside budgeting issues, managing relationships with the aircraft owner/parent company was another chief concern for the day-to-day operations, drawing 9 percent of the responses. And 14 percent listed regulations as the single biggest challenge they are facing this year.

Thirty percent believe staffing, training and scheduling issues would be more easily handled in a larger flight department.

“Small flight departments struggle with proper crewing of their fleets, with a major issue being finding qualified contract pilots when necessary,” the report states. “Important contributors to this issue are limited financial resources, insufficient knowledge of budgeting process and lack of effective communications with the principal or senior management.” The regulatory environment also poses an obstacle for flight departments, the report adds.