After all the hoopla when Congress criticized General Motors executives for flying to Washington, D.C., to request financial aid, company executives are back in the air, The New York Times reports. They are promoting the sale of GM stock.
The use of chartered flights does not violate the U.S. Treasury Department’s rules that the company can’t own or lease business jets. Until now, company executives have ridden commercial airlines. The company was forced to sell its fleet of Gulfstream business jets as part of the government’s demands in return for a federal loan.
The Times reports that Ford, which did not need a federal bailout, kept its airplanes in 2008 when Chrysler and General Motors were selling theirs. Ford received the same criticism as the other two companies. General Motors was forced to fire 49 employees in its flight department that operated the company fleet of seven airplanes.
Thousands of layoffs remain in effect in Wichita as demand for business jets shrank and manufacturers cut back production in the deepening recession. Recovery is now estimated to begin in 2012. Embraer predicts sales will return to 2008 levels in 2018.