Jetscape Services said it plans to expand its FBOs at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida as the first step in a new partnership with a Miami-based private-investment firm.
Fixed base operator
It might seem as if Universal Weather & Aviation doesn’t belong in a profile of FBO chains, but the aircraft handling and weather information company does own true FBOs. It also has a vast network of handlers and handling partners all over the world.
Encore FBO bought the sole FBO at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., the chain’s fourth U.S. FBO and second with a jet charter operation, avionics and heavy maintenance services. Encore also owns three FBOs in Europe, the most recent of which is in Nice, France.
One of the great challenges for an FBO company seeking to build a chain is to strike gold not only with facilities in the U.S. but also in countries whose culture and business environment call for distinctly different recipes for success. Jet Aviation has long offered customers its brand of service at a variety of U.S., Middle Eastern, European and Asian locales.
European FBOs dominated the results of a recent survey of worldwide business aircraft ground-handling operations conducted by Aviation International News (sister publication to EBACE Convention News).
All the leading forecasts agree that business aviation is an increasingly global phenomenon that will see growth rates for aircraft and flying activity rise faster in the still relatively immature markets of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This should be excellent news for anyone in the business of running FBOs and the myriad service companies providing handling and flight planning.
Business flying is definitely up, and so are fuel prices. But, at least so far, aircraft operators aren’t protesting at the pump too bitterly about what they’re paying for jet-A.
“You have to work at it every day. The changes don’t come in waves, but in tiny increments,” Philippe Crevier said about the FBO business. He spoke to AIN on his cellphone from his family’s vacation house.
Allied Capital, a Washington, D.C.-based business development firm, last month finalized a complex, controversial $81 million deal (including closing costs) to acquire the Mercury Air Centers (FBO) division of Los Angeles-based Mercury Air Group.
Signature Flight Support has signaled serious intent to expand its FBO chain outside North America by adding a managing director for Europe. The Orlando, Fla.-based group has hired David Best to fill the new role and has tasked him with expanding its network of business aircraft handling operations throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.