Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cape Girardeau Regional Airport (KCGI), Missouri: Manufacturer and dealer representatives make pitch for corporate aircraft

Shannon Davis, left, and Robert Cork sit in the cockpit of a Quest Kodiak aircraft Wednesday during the Great Planes Air Expo at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport. 

On a warm, windy afternoon at the Great Planes Air Expo, area executives strolled between aircraft parked at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, talking with manufacturer and dealer representatives about the features and possibilities of corporate aircraft.

KCAC Aviation of Kansas City, Missouri, presented seven planes from manufacturers Cessna, Cirrus, Beechcraft, Piper and others, KCAC marketing director Mike Turner said.

“They run the gamut from business jets to propeller-powered aircraft,” Turner said.

“Our customers are busy executives who typically don’t have time to attend the big aviation shows,” Turner said. “We bring planes closer to them” with shows such as this one.

One yellow-and-black-striped turboprop plane from Quest Kodiak was designed as a “mission plane,” Turner said, with wide rubber wheels to operate on grass or gravel landing strips and a cargo pod under the fuselage.

Ed Buchheit looks into the cabin of a plane Wednesday during the Great Planes Air Expo at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

What Turner called Cessna’s “entry-level” corporate jet, a white craft called the Citation M2, was parked nearby.

“It has a smaller fuselage, but it fills the corporate-jet role without being a much bigger plane,” Turner said.

A smaller cargo bay would hold luggage but not as much cargo as the mission plane, he said.

As the wind picked up, Turner said the weather at Cape Girardeau was better than the sales expo he had earlier in the day.

He said KCAC held an expo Wednesday morning at Springfield, Missouri, where it was raining and overcast.

“This is much nicer,” he said.

Turner said they’ll move to St. Louis next for an expo today.

Cape Girardeau Regional Airport has hosted these shows before in the eight years KCAC has held shows across the upper Midwest, Turner said.

“It seems to be a very good location for us,” Turner said.

It’s about connecting with the right people, he said, and adding value to a company’s service for its employees and its customers.

Spectators look at aircraft Wednesday during the Great Planes Air Expo at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

“We’ve seen some high-quality people today already,” Turner said about 45 minutes into the expo.

Turner said commercial airlines can access about 500 airports nationwide, but there are 5,000 airports in the United States.

He said a private aircraft has greater capability to allow executives to get much closer to their destination.

According to a company news release, nearly 75 percent of takeoffs and landings at U.S. airports are by private aircraft, “and the majority take place at airports commercial airlines cannot access.”

There are other benefits, Turner said.

Aircraft can be a tax write-off for a business, he said, as it’s a depreciable, capital asset.

Of course, there are safety regulations that must be followed, and the Federal Aviation Administration is strict on their observation.

But as part of the purchasing process, KCAC would arrange for training in those regulations and other aspects of owning a company aircraft.

For Turner, though, he said there’s value in saving executives the hassles of commercial air travel.

“I’m spoiled,” he said, laughing, but he recently had to fly from Kansas City to Nashville, Tennessee. The flight took 11 1/2 hours, he said.

“It was a total waste of time,” he said, as that flight would have been considerably shorter with a private aircraft, and an executive’s time is valuable.

“This is a much faster method than any other transportation,” Turner said.

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