““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
The Truth and Consequences of Opposing Opinions
Back when the management team of Aviation International News was developing the concept for this magazine in early 2003, it took us longer to zero in on the name, Business Jet Traveler, than it did to agree on the tagline, "maximizing your investment in private air transport." A publication's title is of prime importance, of course, and deserves much thought and discussion. Nevertheless, the experience with the tagline indicated to me that we all really were on the same page regarding what we wanted this new magazine to do for our readers. Although personally I think the language of our catch phrase leans toward Wall Street media-speak, I do believe it accurately portrays the publication's objective.
You, our readers, represent a broad range of private air travelers-from the extremely wealthy who own the Airbus and Boeing bizliners to the comfortably affluent who are considering their first chartered trips in a small business jet. Providing articles that maximize the air-travel investments of this varied group requires continual thought, evaluation and consultation. We know that no single article is likely to interest or benefit every reader. Therefore, we cover a diversity of topics, ranging from full aircraft ownership to interesting destinations and diversions-all with the aim of helping you make decisions on how you can best use business aviation to meet your particular travel needs, whatever they may be.
Our focus on readers has one drawback, however. Sometimes in our quest to provide honest, accurate, balanced and useful information, we butt heads with industry providers-the aircraft manufacturers, charter and fractional operators and many other companies serving the users. Or, to describe them another way: our current and potential advertisers. I am sure you've noticed the ads in Business Jet Traveler and perhaps noted that we don't charge a subscription fee to qualified readers. Obviously, our major source of income is advertising.
This reality occasionally creates conflicts. In fact, the majority of the unhappy feedback we've received over the last few years has been from industry readers, many of them advertisers. Some have accused us of not promoting the business aviation industry because we've published negative information about their companies. A handful have cancelled their ads or not renewed their contracts. Some have come back; others have not.
In my "Editor's Desk" commentary in the inaugural October/November 2003 issue, I said we would not shy away from controversy, and I believe we have kept this promise. Business aviation is a costly, high-profile, complicated business. Safety standards must be kept high. Constantly evolving government aviation regulations, as detailed as they are numerous, are often open to varying interpretations. Competition is extremely fierce and the profit margins of many companies are small. In any industry with high-value products and salespeople working on commission, emotions can trump reason.
Here at Business Jet Traveler, we believe that both the private-air traveler and the industry are best served by showing our readers not only what the industry wants us to show you, but also what is behind the glossy marketing brochures, the glowing press releases and the glitzy, champagne-fueled product parties. This is not to imply that the people and companies we write about set out intentionally to misinform or deceive (though, frankly, some do), but rather that most topics and situations are both complex and open to differing interpretations and opinions. Sometimes the viewpoints expressed by company officials, industry experts and others are contradictory. We believe that providing an aggregate of opinion together with straightforward, unbiased reporting is the most effective way we can help you maximize your investment.
We also believe that helping you to become a better-informed consumer of private-air transport is the best thing that Business Jet Traveler can do to promote the business aviation industry. Not the other way around.
I invite your comments.