The passengers have been whisked away in their limos; shutdown checklists are complete; the fuel order is booked for tomorrow’s departure; and the crew car is idling out front. It’s a beautiful day and the golf course beckons. So it’s off with the necktie and onto the freeway, right?
Fixed base operator
There’s nothing like a spike in jet-A prices to cause aircraft operators to investigate new money-saving strategies. Last year’s surge in prices to more than $5 per gallon after Hurricane Katrina raised discussion of the usual economy measures, including private fuel farms. What could be better than topping off at home base at wholesale rates and tankering through all those FBOs that are charging two or three dollars more per gallon?
Signature Flight Support has steadily stuck to its strategy since its founding
in 1992 and has grown to become the largest multiple-base FBO company in the world. The chain’s beginnings lay in the merger of Butler Aviation and Page Avjet, and it is owned by publicly traded BBA Group of the UK.
Another aviation association is forming, this time to serve FBOs with three or fewer facilities. The Independent Fixed Base Operators Association (IFBOA) is the brainchild of John Wraga Jr., president and CEO of the Cambridge Group of Bedford, Mass. “I visit a lot of small FBOs,” said Wraga. “They all had the idea. They need an association that can support them.”
As of May 1, the former Island Aviation FBO at Merritt Island Airport in Florida reopened as the second FBO owned by Atlas Aviation. Atlas’s first FBO is located at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa, Fla. Atlas plans to continue improving the hangar, lobby and office facilities at Merritt Island while offering visiting pilots and local operators fuel, maintenance, storage and office rental.
FBO owners of three or fewer facilities are being invited to join a new organization, the Independent Fixed Base Operators Association (IFBOA).
Everywhere we look in aviation today we can see long overdue signs of an economic recovery and return to the good old days. However, if you look beyond the obvious indicators, you will see clues that in the future our industry will not look the same as it did five years ago.
1. Wilson Air Center, Memphis (Tenn.) Municipal Airport (MEM)
The state of the aircraft service industry eight months after September 11 can best be described as guardedly optimistic. Thanks largely to the success and publicity of fractional programs, the public has never been more aware of the benefits of business and personal aviation. At the same time, airlines have proven themselves less and less capable of meeting the travel needs of top-level executives and so-called “high net worth” individuals.
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