Pratt and Whitney’s Hess: corporate jets got bad rap
Pratt and Whitney President David Hess says corporate jets got a bad rap from Washington and the rhetoric hurt the industry.
Remember the furor over automakers arriving for congressional hearings late last year in corporate jets to ask for bailouts? And how President Barack Obama and his administration was publicly angry that Citigroup was purchasing a $50 million plane while receiving government funds from the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
Well all of the rhetoric hurt the corporate jet industry, Hess said in an interview at a Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit.
“Some of the criticism of the business jet industry was very unfortunate early this year. That’s a great industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S.,” Hess said. Companies that make corporate jets have lost jobs and their suppliers have been affected like Pratt and Whitney Canada which is expected to see engine deliveries down about 20 percent this year, he said.
“I think there was a lot of rhetoric from the current administration that vilified the industry and people who use business jets which I think was very unfortunate,” he said.
It wasn’t just the political environment and the rhetoric, he acknowledged.
“Typically, business jet deliveries follow corporate profits. They track pretty closely. so clearly the industry would have suffered because of the economic downturn,” Hess said.
“But I think, some of the rhetoric further impacted the industry. I think it could have not been as bad had maybe the rhetoric been a little bit different.”
As for his own travels, Hess says he “absolutely” flies in a corporate jet — noting that just today he had to travel to Washington, New York and Seattle.
“It’s a business tool, you need it to be efficient and productive in business, so I am going to fly in a business jet,” he said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Molly Riley (Hess)