Knowledge Center

What exactly is business aviation?

The aviation industry is characterized by a high degree of market fragmentation, split into various segments and sub-segments. Overall, the aviation industry is divided into the two major segments (1) Civil Aviation and (2) Military Aviation. Civil Aviation includes the following two sub-segments:

  • General Aviation
  • Scheduled Commercial Aviation

General Aviation (GA) is defined as all aviation other than scheduled commercial aviation, which is operated by major airlines, and military aviation, such as armed services. Business aviation, the market where Top Jets offers its services, is considered as a sub-segment of General Aviation.

Business aviation is the use of any “general aviation” aircraft for a business purpose. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines general aviation as all flights that are not conducted by the military or the scheduled airlines. As such, business aviation is a part of general aviation that focuses on the business use of airplanes and helicopters. Business Aviation includes Air Taxi operations, in which whole aircraft are chartered by clients and corporate operations in which a company owns and operates its own aircraft using professional pilots.

Business Aviation is the sector of aviation which concerns the operation or use of aircraft by companies for the carriage of passengers and goods as an aid to the conduct of their business, flown for purposes generally considered not for public hire and piloted by individuals having at the minimum a valid commercial pilot licence with an instrument rating (IBAC Definition).

The vast majority of business jets are used or owned by governments and companies who make their aircraft available for transporting government officials, business leaders, and sales and marketing teams, or to shuttle Engineers and Project Managers offsite. Less than 3% are used privately: (Source: National Business Aviation Association [NBAA])

  • Major Corporations (60%)
  • Governments (20%)
  • Assorted Others (17%)
  • Private Individuals (3%)

Which types of aircraft are operated in business aviation?

The types of business aircraft vary widely, ranging from propeller-driven aircraft to jets to helicopters. The fleet includes everything from piston aircraft not much bigger than a car and capable of flying just a few hundred miles before re-fuelling, to jets that seat more than a dozen people and are capable of making non-stop international flights. However, the vast majority of business aircraft seat six passengers in a cabin roughly the size of a large SUV and fly an average stage length of less than 1,000 miles. Depending on their capability, these aircraft may fly at altitudes below the airlines (below 20,000 feet) or above the airlines (above 40,000 feet):

Piston Engine Aircraft: Piston aircraft used for business typically fly relatively short missions of 300-400 miles, using very small general aviation airports that are often without air traffic control towers.
Turboprop Aircraft: Turboprops are an attractive option for businesses that need to fly missions requiring 600-1,000 miles of travel between general aviation airports that often have runways too short to accommodate jets.
Jet Aircraft: Like their turboprop counterparts, jet interiors are often configured similar to a small office, where co-workers can meet and make productive use of time en route to a destination.
Helicopters: Helicopters are often attractive to businesspeople because of their ability to land at a variety of heliports and outlying airports and are typically used for very short business aviation flights of less than 100 miles, at altitudes of less than 1,000 feet.

Jet aircraft have one or more gas-turbine engines and use Jet A fuel. Jet aircraft often fly faster than turboprop aircraft and are capable of flying at higher altitudes than pistons or turboprops. Depending on their capability, these aircraft typically fly at altitudes below the airlines (20,000 -25,000 feet) or above the airlines (above 40,000 feet). The size and flight range of jets varies widely – some have a single pilot and very small cabin, while others can accommodate a meeting-like environment and are capable of flying internationally.

Here you can find an overview of the major manufacturer of business jets:

Airbus S.A.S.
AvCraft Aviation (formerly Fairchild)
Boeing Business Jet (BBJ)
Bombardier Business Aircraft (Bombardier Learjet)
Cessna Aircraft Company
Dassault Falcon Jet Corp.
Eclipse Aviation Corporation
Embraer S.A.
Emivest Aerospace Corporation
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation