With 34 FBOs in the U.S. and Canada, Landmark Aviation has grown to be one of the larger FBO chains. The company was formed through the merger of Piedmont Hawthorne, Garrett Aviation and Associated Air Center, all of which trace their roots to the 1930s and 1940s. These aviation service companies started coming together in 2001, when Piedmont Hawthorne bought Associated.
Fixed base operator
Avfuel dealer FirstFlight is building a new chain, starting with two FBOs at Pennsylvania’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and Garden City, Kan. FirstFlight also manages the Tech Aviation FBO at Niagara Falls International Airport in New York. In addition to FBO services, FirstFlight offers charter/management, aircraft sales and acquisition consulting and jet maintenance.
TAG Aviation on Monday opened an FBO at Torrejon Airport in Madrid. The company already has FBOs in Farnborough, UK, and Berlin, in addition to its headquarters in Geneva, plus executive aircraft charter and management operations in the U.S.
Two months after Swiss-based Jet Aviation revealed to AIN that it had dropped plans announced more than two years ago that it was partnering with Kuwait-based investment company United Projects to build an FBO at Kuwait International Airport, Mercury Air Group has picked up the ball.
It was almost painfully uncomfortable. The recently hired customer service representative was up to her belt buckle in alligators, all the line techs were missing, her line chief was deep in conversation with an important customer and everyone else from management was in a meeting off site.
Effective March 15, Signature Flight Support increased handling fees at its chain of more than 40 U.S. FBO locations. Signature said, “Customers who purchase two or more times the specified minimum fuel volume for their aircraft type at any U.S. Signature location will receive a 100-percent waiver of handling fees at all other U.S. Signature FBOs visited on the same day of their fuel purchase.”
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.
Signature Flight Support’s scheduled opening this month of a new FBO at Doncaster Robin Hood Airport in northern England marks the latest addition to the U.S.-based group’s fast-expanding European network. Its other 18 FBOs in Europe collectively handled some 40,000 movements last year, according to European managing director David Best, who said all bases are seeing strong growth with increased movements and good financial performance.
The Independent Fixed Base Operators Association (IFBOA) announced that John Goglia has accepted the position as president of the recently formed FBO operators group. Goglia, an A&P mechanic who writes the Torqued column in AIN, served two terms as a member of the NTSB, owned and operated an FBO for 12 years and spent 20 years as an airline union flight safety representative.
Horizon Business Concepts this month introduced an online service that allows operators to register FBO service requests and obtain fuel confirmations on the Internet.
Called FlashTurn, the service uses Horizon’s TotalFBO accounting and aviation management software, and the company automatically enrolls all TotalFBO customers. Horizon invites all other FBOs to subscribe as well, however.