U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a new office at Santa Maria Airport (SMX) on December 4, with operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Jim Kunkle, president of FBO Central Coast Jet Center, said that Santa Maria is a frequent launch point for business jet flights to Hawaii. The first customer to use the new customs service was a BBJ flying from Asia early last month.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs » FBOs
New developments at FBOs including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, acquisitions and mergers.
Air traffic controllers at Canada’s Ottawa International Airport can now “see” traffic on the airport surface in the southwest area of the airport using a computer vision-based airport surface detection (ASD) system installed by Searidge Technologies. The Searidge system detects aircraft, vehicles, people and other objects using a network of digital-imaging sensors coupled to computer-vision technology.
Burrows Aviation is building a new FBO at Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (SBM) in Wisconsin. Scheduled to open next month, the FBO is owned by Ron Burrows, a pilot and real estate developer. The FBO will offer a conference room, weather data, wireless Internet access and AirBP fuel. It will also house a full-service restaurant that will provide catering services.
Pilots no longer need to complain about the tight ramp space at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport FBO Banyan Air Services. The FBO opened a new terminal and ramp on December 7. The new terminal includes a 2,800-sq-ft lobby with an 800-gallon saltwater aquarium, a waterfall, palm trees, three pilot lounges and separate bunk room, private mailboxes, showers, a business center, baggage holding area and two conference rooms.
Dubai International Airport now has not one but two purpose-built support facilities for business aviation, both located in the duty free zone on the other side of the runway from the airshow. The new Jet Aviation FBO has been operational since May, and will be formally opened at a ceremony here this evening. The new Bombardier/ExecuJet Aviation facility was inaugurated yesterday and began operations just this month.
JetDirect Aviation is planning a new national FBO chain, backed by Philadelphia private-equity firms CD Ventures and Argosy Capital. The company now has five FBOs and manages 60 airplanes, many on charter certificates. JetDirect plans to merge all the charter certificates into JetDirect’s certificate and place all the charter and management aircraft under its banner.
ExxonMobil’s Avitat FBO network has adopted Megadata’s Passur FBO software suite to help track and serve Avitat customers. The Passur Avitat Networking software suite was developed exclusively for the Avitat network. Avitat FBOs will be able to use the Passur system to track customer aircraft, view data on aircraft flying into their airports and look up information about the owners of tracked aircraft.
The strategy for large FBO chains backed by big private equity funds is to buy FBOs in wealthy destination markets, either major metropolitan areas with lots of business activity or high-end resort areas that are frequented by business jet travelers. Midsize markets don’t get as much attention, and that is fine with Greg Arnold, president and CEO of Truman Arnold Companies, which owns the 11-base TAC Air FBO chain.
IAM Jet Centre’s second Caribbean FBO, at Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica, will open on December 15. IAM Jet Centre has its own airport entrance separate from the airline passenger entrance. The 4,500-sq-ft FBO terminal houses passenger and crew lounges, private meeting rooms and in-house customs and immigration processing as well as X-ray and electronic security screening equipment.
The Million Air FBO franchise has reached 35 bases, with the addition of nine new facilities in the past 12 months, one of which, in Paris, is the chain’s first European FBO. Million Air Paris at Le Bourget Airport brings luxury amenities to the European business aviation market, including a theater room, complimentary beverage/snack bar and a snooze room.