over 100,000 miles a year on commercial airlines and more than that
on our own jets," he said. "The business jet industry
has enjoyed unprecedented growth for four or five years, and most
manufacturers are in a backlog situation. There's a little slowdown
now with the economy, but forecasts for the industry are very positive."
sold 44 business jets last year valued at $590 million. In terms
of revenue, a midsize Learjet 60, which seats eight people, costs
$12 million. Bombardier also builds planes as large as commercial
MD-80s. Its Global Express sells for $44 million.
part of the sales process in business jets is getting corporations
to think long-term," said Arnold. "It takes about a year
to assemble an aircraft. For our new Continental (which debuts in
2002), we’re taking orders now for 2006. The plane costs $17 million
primarily with corporate senior executives, but occasionally with
celebrities in sports and media. Business and racing legend Roger
Penske (winner of this year’s Indy 500) is one of his clients.
sponsors the Kelley Racing Team, as well as Rusty Wallace of NASCAR
Winston Cup fame," he said. "I coordinate the company's
involvement in Indianapolis racing."
is a strong midsize market for business jets, Arnold said, so he
visits the area from time to time. He recently hosted a three-day
static display of Bombardier jets at the Birmingham airport with
former astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.
"Gene, with his vast aviation experience, is great to have
around when talking with potential clients," said Arnold.
executive said he is always glad to get back to Birmingham.
a great experience at Samford," he said. "The business
school was outstanding, but probably what has helped me the most
are the speaking and debating skills I learned under Brad Bishop."
a member of Bishop’s 1971 national champion debate team. His debate
partner was David Peterson '72, and through an ironic twist, he
and Peterson saw each other recently for the first time in 30 years.
know it, but Peterson owns an automobile dealership in several states,"
said Arnold. "One of my salesmen called on him (in California),
and the subject of where they went to school came up. When the salesman
found out David went to Samford, he said, 'My boss went there.'
'Who is he?' David asked. When he found out, he said, 'He was my
old debating partner.'"
The two subsequently
visited when Arnold was on a sales trip west.