fbo roundup

October 24, 2019

Nick Klenske provides a glimpse into the FBO sector, keeping up to date on the latest happenings in the industry



According to the Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABS Group), the FBO sector continues to grow. In its most recent Annual FBO Fuel Sales Survey, the Group reports that 75% of responding FBOs saw an increase in fuel sales in 2018 – with 20% reporting increases of more than 8%. Furthermore, respondents reported a 43% increase in transient ramp traffic in 2018.

Based on insights like these, the ABS Group expects to see moderate 1.5 – 2% growth in FBO activities (base customer aircraft movements, transient traffic arrivals, gallons pumped, etc.) in 2019. “With slower growth expected in business aircraft flight activity and hours flown, FBO operators should look at every facet of their operation to minimize costs and work more efficiently,” reads the report.

In terms of trends within the FBO sector, the ABS Group predicts that FBO selection will become increasingly based on safety standards. “Aircraft operators, particularly those flying internationally, will become more selective in choosing FBO service providers,” says the report. “The trend will be to favor those offering a minimum of at least a safety management system (SMS) and/or an IS-BAH registration designation.”

Following the structure of the safety management system for Business Aircraft Operators (IS-BAO), the IS-BAH certificate establishes criteria to ensure that the ground handling processes for aircraft, crews and passengers comply with ground safety and security standards.

To help pick the right FBO for you, BART has rounded up the latest from some of the industry’s leading players.

Expansion and Acquisition for Jet Aviation

Jet Aviation recently broke ground for a new hangar and office space at its West Palm Beach, Florida FBO. However, the company says this is just the latest step in its efforts to expand and improve its global network of 35 FBOs.

“Our acquisitions and facility expansions throughout the FBO network demonstrate our commitment to delivering industry-leading services exactly where our customers need them,” says Jet Aviation President David Paddock. “With General Dynamics support, we are moving strategically and purposefully toward our top priority of exceeding customer expectations across our full range of Business Aviation services.”

These activities include the company’s acquisitions of the Hawker Pacific chain of FBOs in Australia and Asia and of the KLM Jet Center businesses in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the establishment of ground-handling services at Prince Abdul Mohsin Bin Abdulaziz Regional Airport in Saudi Arabia, and the refurbishment of a 600 square meter facility at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport.

In the US and Caribbean, Jet Aviation is busy building and renovating seven regional locations, including in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the company recently acquired a stake in the Scottsdale Jet Center. Furthermore, an entirely new FBO and hangar complex is nearing completion at Van Nuys, California and hangar expansions are happening in Teterboro, New Jersey and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

UAS Expands in China

Last year, global trip support solutions provider UAS International Trip Support announced a new partnership with Deer Jet. The partnership significantly expanded the company’s presence across China and ensured that UAS clients received privileged access to the Deer Jet FBO and station manager network – the largest in China. The move also guarantees the UAS standard of quality at each location, some of which are the only available FBO at a particular destination. On-the-ground supervision by UAS Station Managers is available at these 11 stations and, thanks to Deer Jet’s extensive ground presence, also across 180 Chinese airports.

“Access to a bigger network means better advantages for our clients,” says UAS Co-Owner/Founder and CEO Omar Hosari. “We’re now in a position to ensure they benefit in terms of the best service and cost-efficiency through our extended Chinese ground presence.”

These benefits include preferred pricing and priority of service provision at Deer Jet’s 5-star facilities, all of which offer a full complement of aviation services 24/7.

Universal Aviation Expands to Argentina

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Universal Aviation boast a ground support network of over 50 locations across more than 20 countries. One of the newest to join this list is its Argentina location.

“Over the last few years, Argentina has become an increasingly popular destination for Business Aviation, particularly among operators who travel between Argentina, Brazil and Chile,” says Universal Chairman Greg Evans. “With the recent opening of Argentina to foreign companies, we were able to expand the Universal Aviation worldwide ground support network into Argentina to elevate standards there and better ensure the success of our clients’ missions there.”

Universal Aviation Argentina is based at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport and supports all airports in the Buenos Aires area and all outlying stations. Universal Aviation Argentina can coordinate support to operators at more than 35 additional airports in Argentina.

TAG Farnborough Airport Goes Green

TAG Farnborough Airport isn’t just Europe’s leading Business Aviation airport, it’s also one of the most sustainable. The company was recently named the winner in the Energy and Carbon Transition category at the newly launched IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards 2019, recognizing the airport’s achievements in energy efficiency and carbon management.

“This award represents another important milestone in our ongoing energy efficiency and carbon reduction efforts,” says Miles Thomas, Environment Manager at TAG Farnborough Airport, said. “TAG Farnborough Airport is committed to developing its business in a responsible and sustainable way through the comprehensive management of our environmental impact.”

The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is the largest professional body for environmental practitioners in the UK and worldwide, with nearly 15,000 members. The new IEMA Awards recognize people and businesses that are transforming the world towards sustainability, with winners selected by a panel of judges featuring leading authorities in the environment and sustainability sector.

ExecuJet/Luxaviation Shows Safety Strength

ExecuJet, part of the Luxaviation Group, offers a complete menu of ground handling and concierge services from its global network of FBOs, including aircraft, passenger and baggage handling, fuel, aircraft valet and hangarage, security, customs and immigration, and limousine transfers. Recently, the company’s Brussels FBO gained IS-BAH Stage II accreditation. The FBO, which is located at Brussels International Airport just 10 km from the city center, features two VVIP passenger lounges, three meeting rooms, and full crew facilities.

“After being the first facility to achieve IS-BAH status in Belgium, we are extremely proud to mark this next stage of our development,” says An-Céline Claes, Brussels FBO Handling & Protocol Manager, ExecuJet. “The Stage II accreditation is testament to our team’s dedication to maintaining the highest levels of safety and service, particularly in the key areas of customer care and safety management.”

“Of the 10 IS-BAH certified FBOs in our global network, Brussels is the fourth facility to have progressed to Stage II, demonstrating the strength of our global network,” adds Luxaviation Group FBO Director Ettore Poggi.

Jetex Adds Third Location in Japan

Jetex has a global FBO portfolio that includes over 55 locations in 26 countries, including the recently opened location at Japan’s Kansai International Airport. The 300 square meter location, the company’s third in Japan, is equipped with private parking, lounge, meeting room, reception counter and customs and immigration services. The facilities operate 24/7.

“We have been operating in Narita and Haneda Airports since 2015 and believe Kansai to be a strategic addition based on the impressive 31.5% growth over the last 18 months,” says Adel Mardini, Founder and CEO, Jetex.

“Our commitment to exceptional customer experience is demonstrated through our services available in all 88 airports throughout Japan,” adds Toru Oshima, Jetex Japan. “We look forward to personally welcoming our customers from around the globe to Kansai.”

Air Service Basel Focused on Safety

Located at the southwest corner of the EuroAirport in Basel, Air Service Basel’s FBO terminal offers a full range of customer-focused services for Business Aviation, including aircraft hangar and apron parking, fueling, maintenance, management, passenger and crew support, and VIP handling.

In June, the FBO was granted the second stage IS-BAH certification. “We are very pleased to be recognized for our efforts in security, safety, service and the environment with our accreditation for the second stage of IS-BAH,” says Air Service Basel Quality Assurance Manager Uwe Paukner. “The second stage validates that safety and security are part of our daily practices and acknowledges the level of service we dedicate to our overall ground handling performance.”

Meridian Keeps it in the Family

Meridian has a proud history dating back almost 70 years. What started as a small aircraft maintenance business has evolved into a full-service Business Aviation company with a portfolio that includes FBOs in Teterboro, New Jersey, and Heyward, California. The company has the distinction of being the only family-owned aviation company at Teterboro.

Business Travels Go for Kurz Aviation Services

Located in Stuttgart, Germany, Kurz Aviation Services offers FBO services from its General Aviation Terminal. Serving nearly 36,000 passengers a year, the company’s facilities are heavily utilized by business travelers, who appreciate the VIP lounge with airfield views and unique catering offering. “Travelers and crews can settle down in our modern Relax easy chairs or take care of business using our free WLAN connection,” says a company representative. “Small conference tables are also available for short meetings and office work.”