For the FBO business, 2013 may go down as the year the industry truly began its slow, tentative climb out of the trough. U.S. business jet activity, both domestic and international, rose over 2012, which in turn saw a modest gain over 2011. At almost 3.4 million operations, domestic activity last year increased by 2.4 percent, according to the FAA, an improvement of more than 79,000 operations but still 19 percent lower than the record high of 4,191,692 operations set in 2005.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs
New developments at airports and heliports, including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, acquisitions and mergers of FBOs; AIN’s Annual FBO Survey Reports; and news, issues and concerns regarding fuel cards, fuel prices and alternative fuels.
On Tuesday the six members of the Santa Monica city council voted unanimously on a plan to prepare to close all or part of Santa Monica Airport. More than 100 attendees spoke during the late-night meeting, with opinions split about evenly between those supporting the field’s future as an airport and those seeking to use its 227 acres for parkland or property development.
An item titled “The Future of Santa Monica Airport” on the agenda for tonight’s Santa Monica (Calif.) City Council meeting is likely to result in a spillover crowd, with both airport proponents and anti-airport groups urging members to attend to express their opinions.
Million Air held an official opening on Friday for its $15 million flagship FBO at Houston Hobby Airport, which will also serve as the company’s headquarters. The 22,000-sq-ft facility more than doubles the size of the former building and features a three-story glass-clad lobby atrium spanned by a “sky bridge” that connects the building’s two wings.
Former Butler Aviation president Thomas Comeau died on Thursday at the age of 72. His nearly 30-year career at the FBO chain started at the Boston Logan facility as a flight dispatcher in the early 1960s. Comeau worked his way up the ranks, culminating in his position as president. He left the company in 1990 and formed T.F. Comeau & Associates, an aviation fueling and FBO consultancy. In 1995 he did a stint as president of DynAir Fueling before becoming senior vice president for global sales and projects at Swissport Fueling until his retirement.
Previously mandated cash transactions for aircraft fuel purchases at India’s general aviation airports will now give way to credit cards as part of Airport Authority India’s (AAI) attempt to provide hassle-free operations for business aircraft operators. This follows the installation of a cellular-data-enabled electronic transaction facility this week at the last of India’s 93 domestic airports, Hyderabad Begumpet Airport.
Atlantic Aviation recently reached agreement with Los Angeles World Airports to develop a 36,500-sq-ft general aviation hangar at Los Angeles International Airport, where the company already operates an FBO. Work on the $7.8 million hangar, which will be able to accommodate up to four large-cabin business jets, has already started and is scheduled to be finished early next year.
Signature Flight Support signed an agreement today with Blue Heron Aviation to license the latter company’s new FBO currently under construction at Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The new Signature-branded FBO will provide customers with a “modern and contemporary” facility, consisting of a 6,800-sq-ft terminal with lounges and office space, 11 acres of aircraft parking and hangar. Ground handling and fueling will be available, as well as the “full portfolio” of Signature’s services, including its Signature TailWins loyalty program.
Quintessentially Aviation Handling recently opened its new executive passenger and crew terminal facility at Ireland’s Shannon International Airport. The 1,750-sq-ft terminal includes an executive passenger lounge, as well as an airside crew rest lounge complete with satellite TV, Netflix, Wi-Fi, complimentary catering and modern Swiss furnishings. The terminal is also equipped with its own air bridge. Quintessentially Aviation Handling recently joined the Air Elite Network.
Hawthorne Global Aviation Services opened its latest FBO, located at Chicago Executive Airport, this week. One of three providers on the field, the newly built Shell-branded facility features a 10,000-sq-ft terminal along with 30,000 sq ft of heated hangar space capable of accommodating aircraft the size of a G650. The base is the company’s third, joining locations at New Orleans Lakefront and Long Island MacArthur Airports.