What's the executive travel outlook for the new year? Complicated as ever. But there's good news for executives: catering to their needs is a hot growth business. Hardly a day passes without someone devising a new, creative way to make business travel easier"”and to attract more business from those travelers.

Some forecasters predict 2006 could be a turnaround year for the financial condition of commercial airlines. Their reasoning? Cost-cutting and weaker competition from regional airlines might make it possible for Delta, United and other major airlines to raise fares. Other analysts say higher prices and fewer flights"”along with delays and uncertainties arising from security concerns"”could drive more executives to pursue alternative flight paths.

That's prompting airports and their related service-providers to throttle up attention paid to business travelers. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, often rated as one of the nation's best major airports, just opened a third runway, which should help keep flights on time. To improve convenience, the airport introduced curbside valet service at Delta's home, Terminal 3, 24 hours a day.

Ancillary service-providers are ramping up their executive support, too. At ValAir Valet Parking, located close to the airport on the north side of I-275, customers enjoy valet drop-off service at the airport. After arrival, a ValAir shuttle returns them back to their vehicles, which typically are gleaming from a custom wash and wax, fully serviced, and ready to roll with the AC or heat set at a perfect comfort level. ValAir President Cathleen A. Matchinga says frequent travel is such a strain for harried business people, so her  company goes out of its way to bring relaxed smiles of satisfaction from customers.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car leases space at the location from ValAir, adding another service option for business travelers.

Executive Transportation, based in Newport, has expanded its ground transportation services. Whether they arrive at a main terminal or on a charter flight at the general aviation facility, business travelers"”individuals or large groups"”can have Executive Transportation cover their entire business and social itineraries with a choice of limousines, vans, sedans and even motor coaches.

This eagerness to adapt to the needs of business travelers is infectious. Major airlines that fell into or flirted with bankruptcy see courting business travelers as part of the solution. Delta Airlines is touting its BusinessElite class for intercontinental flights to Brazil, Chile, Europe, India and Japan. The perks abound: priority check-in and baggage claim, access to BusinessElite and Crown Room Club lounges, bonus frequent-flyer miles, and more comfy and spacious seating on planes, including personal entertainment centers, power connections for notebook computers, and premium five-course dinners.


Beyond the commercial airlines, flight options abound for executives. At one end of the spectrum is corporate ownership of the premier, long-range jets, such as the Gulfstream V and the Boeing Business Jet (or BBJ). But companies that could justify owning and operating a business plane are more cautious these days about attracting the ire of shareholders who see jets as symbols of corporate greed.

Sharon Lowery, chairman of the Ohio Valley Business Travelers Association (BTA), says uncertainty about commercial flight schedules, along with airport delays and hassles, seems to have motivated more companies to look into owning or leasing aircraft, or exploring other choices such as fractional ownership plans. As for the corporate and executive charter flight business, "I believe it will grow," Lowery predicts.

"It's the same as always"”executives are after convenience," adds Phil Tedeschi, executive vice president of the association. "Commercial airlines are still struggling with serving customers, so those who can afford charter, fractional and other choices will do it."
More companies are realizing efficiencies and cost-savings in non-commercial flight options, especially as the variety of options blossom.

Delta entered the market with Delta AirElite Business Jets, which offers on-demand charter services with a dedicated fleet of planes. The "Fleet Membership" allows businesses to buy blocks of flight hours with guaranteed availability. An exclusive partnership with Bombardier Flexjet allows members to access the Flexjet fleet 25 hours at a time. The "Fleet Charter" service gives access to more than 400 business jets on a pay-as-you-go basis. And Delta recently added a new Bombardier Challenger 300 and a Learjet 45XR to its charter fleet.

AirElite may pose a challenge to Executive Jet Management (EJM), but both companies have been enjoying record growth in revenue. EJM, formed 41 years ago, is based at recently expanded headquarters at Lunken Field. With one of the largest fleets in the country, the company offers a variety of charter options as well as fractional ownership of corporate jets through its parent company, NetJets, which originated fractional jet ownership in 1986 and was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett in 1998. EJM's Corporate Shuttle program is designed for executives and their employees who fly often between the same cities. Like Delta's Flexjet, NetJets' Marquis Jet Card buys 25 hours of corporate jet travel, with guaranteed availability.

Lunken Field is the hub of charter air activity in Greater Cincinnati. It's the home base for several companies offering a variety of charter services, including Air Alpha, Irish Air, and Jet Air LLC (see chart).

Air Alpha, for example, has been in business at Lunken since 1977. Owner and captain Wayne Alvarez has more than 10,000 hours of flight experience. Many of his customers are professionals who need to be out and back the same day, and others need to hit multiple destinations in short order. "We have one site manager who is able to visit three projects in three different destinations in one day," notes Air Alpha's Kay Watson, noting that would be impossible to accomplish by vehicle or commercial travel.


Tristate executives are finding their travel options expand with the growth of regional airports. Butler County is courting business travelers from Fairfield, Hamilton, West Chester and beyond with its modernized Regional Airport. With business travelers in mind, the county recently made its modern, spacious terminal a "hot spot" with high-speed wireless internet access.

The FBO (fixed-base operator) at Butler County Regional, ProAero Inc., is expanding services for business customers. Beyond the usual FBO aviation support services, owners Joe Conrad and his wife, Chris, supply on-site amenities and help business travelers with ground transportation, lodging and other needs. Last year they began offering flexible charter options through Share-a-charter.net LLC. Joe is the managing member of this internet-based brokerage service, which features discount rates for conventional and shared air charters.

Similar growth in business and charter services is taking place at Lebanon's Warren County Airport, where similar business traveler support is provided through the FBO, Corporate Air Travel (CAT), and Clear Skies Aircraft Charter. The owners of those businesses, partners Brian Carr and Bob Henderson, purchased the Lebanon airstrip 10 years ago and transformed it with more than $2 million in improvements. They're eager to cater to business travelers with a variety of support services.

Leading Tristate Air Charter Services

Boone County, KY    
Delta AirElite Business Jets Cincinnati/Northern KY Intl Airport 859-767-3507
Co-Op Aircraft Service Blue Ash Airport, Cincinnati 513-791-8500
Northstar Helicopters, Inc. Blue Ash Airport, Cincinnati 513-793-3550
Air Alpha Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-871-1051
Blue Ash Aviation Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-984-5880
Cin-Air Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-321-7142
Executive Jet Management Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-871-2004
Flamingo Air Inc. Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-321-7465
Irish Air Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-533-0444
Jet Air LLC Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-871-8878
Jet Resource Inc. Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-762-6909
Midwest Jet Center Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-871-8600
Million Air Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-871-2020
OnFlight, Inc. Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-321-6100
Sunbird Air Services Inc. Lunken Field, Cincinnati 513-871-1257
Aviation Sales Dayton International Airport 937-898-3927
Stevens Aviation   937-454-3400
Wright Brothers Aero Dayton International Airport 937-890-8900
Ladd Air Wright Brothers Airport 877-359-5233
Share-a-Charter.net Butler County Regional Airport 513-896-9999
Clear Skies Aircraft Charter Lebanon-Warren County Airport 513-836-6039
Corporate Air Travel Lebanon-Warren County Airport 513-932-7966
Lexington, KY    
Aero Tech Blue Grass Airport, Lexington 859-254-8906
Sprite Flight Blue Grass Airport, Lexington 859-253-9050
Miami Valley Aviation Hook Field, Middletown 513-422-5050
Sky Taxi Hook Field, Middletown 866-759-8294


Tristate Airports for Executives

This chart lists Greater Cincinnati airports that have either full-service commercial and  private aviation, or that have Fixed Based Operators (FBO). An FBO can be a local government or private company that typically provides basic aircraft maintenance and support services such as fuel, oxygen and aircraft parking. They may also offer additional services such as airport management, passenger terminals, aircraft hangars, flight training, aircraft modifications, aircraft rentals and charters, and avionics sales.

Location Airport Address Telephone Web Site FBO Services
Cincinnati Cincinnati-Lunken Field 262 Wilmer Ave, Cincinnati, OH 513-352-6340 www.cincinnati-transit.net/lunken.html Passenger terminal, lounge.
Aircraft rental, charters.
Midwest Jet Center
Million Air
Cincinnati Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport Glendale-Milford Rd., Blue Ash, OH 513-352-6340513-791-8500 www.cincinnati-transit.net/blueash.html Aircraft rental, charters.
Blue Ash Aviation
Co-op Aircraft Service
Exec Aviation
Dayton Dayton International Airport 3600 Terminal Drive, Vandalia,O 937-454-8200 www.daytonairport.com Full-service commercial & private aviation
Dayton Wright Brothers Airport 10550 Springboro Pike, Miamisburg, OH 937-885-2327 none Passenger terminal, lounge.
Aircraft rental, charters. Commander Aero  
Dayton Greene County-Jackson Regional Airport 140 N. Valley Rd., Xenia, OH 937-376-8107 none Passenger terminal, lounge.
Aircraft rental.GW Aviation
Dayton Moraine Air Park 3800 Clearview Ave., Dayton, OH 937-866-2489 www.moraineairpark.com Moraine AirPark
Hamilton Butler County Regional Airport 2820 Bobmeyer Rd., Hamilton, OH 513-887-0444 www.butlercountyregionalairport.org Airport management.
Passenger terminal, lounge.
Aircraft rental, charters.
Lebanon Lebanon-Warren County Airport 2460 Greentree Rd., Lebanon,OH 513-932-7966 www.warrencountyairport.com Airport management.
Passenger terminal, lounge
Corporate Air Travel (CAT)
Middletown Hook Field Municipal Airport One City Center, Middletown, OH 513-425-7927 none Aircraft rental, charters.
B & B Aero Services
Ski Taxi
Oxford Miami University Airport 7101 Fairfield Rd., Oxford, OH 513-529-2735 none Airport management
Boone Co., KY Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Intl Airport 2939 Terminal Drive, Hebron, KY 859-767-3151 www.cvgairport.com Full-service commercial & private aviation
Lexington, KY Blue Grass Airport 4000 Terminal Drive, Lexington, KY 859-425-3114 www.bluegrassairport.com Full-service commercial& private aviation