NASA's Small Airplane Costs v. Airlines, Autos and the Economic Value of Time 2002-01-1546
This paper presents results of research which considered the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) assertion that the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) will be an economical alternative to automobile and airline travel, when considering the economic value of a traveler's time, within a range of mid-length trips. To simulate a likely near-term niche for SATS, performance was studied in the corporate aviation environment, using NASA's metric for overall transportation performance. Travel$ense software was used to examine the costs of traveling on two hypothetical SATS aircraft versus automobile costs and airline fares, net the cost of travelers' time, traveling among a sample of 53 city pairs in the continental United States. Thus a secondary agenda of the research was to examine the premise of the National Business Aviation Association that when considering the value of time, corporate aviation is often as economical as airline travel, and can be more economical. NASA's premise received qualified support, as did the NBAA's.