jet aviation expands fbo network

January 8, 2019

The recent addition of two FBOs in the Netherlands was the next step in Jet Aviation’s strategy to be present at Europe’s top Business Aviation airports. Volker K. Thomalla reports from Amsterdam

In early October, Jet Aviation completed its acquisition of KLM Jet Center, a former subsidiary of the Dutch airline KLM, which offers FBO services at both Amsterdam and Rotterdam international airports in the Netherlands. On October 25, Jet Aviation celebrated the official inauguration of the re-branded FBO in Schiphol’s General Aviation Terminal.

The addition of both facilities – which are only 60 kilometers (37 miles) apart from each other – brings Jet Aviation’s global FBO network to a total of 34, including eight locations in Europe. Edwin Niemöller, who has served as KLM Jet Center’s FBO director for over a decade, will lead the newly founded Jet Aviation Netherlands. The company is keeping all 34 employees.

The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

A Strategic Acquisition

According to Jet Aviation Vice President Cyril Martinière, the move was not an opportunistic buy, but a strategic acquisition that started two years ago. “Jet Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board had pointed out that they would like to see Jet Aviation offering FBO and handling services in the Netherlands,” he says. “When KLM decided to divest its Business Aviation handling affiliate, Jet Aviation stepped up.”

The company now offers ground handling, customer and crew services, flight planning, de-icing and fueling services at both airports. The FBO in Amsterdam is capable of handling aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767, although for widebody parking it needs to cooperate with the Schiphol airport authority. For all other aircraft, it even does the apron control, parking planning and marshalling, which reduces time on ground for customer aircraft.

The facility is fully equipped to handle larger passenger groups like sports teams. International soccer teams use the FBO regularly as the stadium of Amsterdam’s famous Ajax football club is less than 20 kilometers away. “The two FBOs support more than 7,500 annual movements and extend high connectivity to Jet Aviation customers,” says Jet Aviation President Rob Smith. “While Amsterdam Schiphol has slot restrictions and closes at 11:00 pm, Rotterdam is the only 24/7 international airport in the Netherlands.”

In Schiphol, Jet Aviation’s lounges overlook the apron, underlining the short distances from the terminal building to the aircraft. “It takes only 50 steps from entering the General Aviation Terminal to the aircraft entry door,” adds Niemöller. The building itself is owned by the airport authority, and Jet Aviation will now invest in furniture and accessories to adjust the look and feel of the FBO to its own design standards.

Striving for More

Customers like the full service they get. Both FBOs have consistently been voted one of the top-ten FBOs in Europe in recent years. Niemöller is now striving for IS-BAH certification for both FBOs, which all other European FBOs in Jet Aviation’s network have already achieved.