June 30, 2014

Choosing your FBO partner

From organizing your flight schedules and refueling the aircraft, to supplying the catering and fine wines onboard, your Fixed Based Operator (FBO) is there to make sure your departure and arrival experience runs as smoothly and as securely as possible.

Even if your personal preference is to bypass all facilities onsite and simply step from your car directly on to the aircraft, your choice of departure or arrival airport can be strongly influenced by the quality and availability of FBO services.

Passenger comfort is essential but the safety and security of the aircraft and its crew are also of paramount importance and remain in the expert hands of the FBO. Choosing the right FBO partner for your departure or arrival is extremely important – just ask your pilot, he or she will be able to explain how essential top-rate facilities and services can make a considerable difference to the overall safety of your journey, such as a snooze room for crew, de-icing and cleaning services.

Standards

The standard of FBO services varies across the world and, as yet, there is no overriding industry standard that companies need to adhere to.

While some FBOs operate independently in one location, others have their own global network or partner network with other FBOs in other locations.

Some of today’s modern FBOs truly rival the services and ambiance of top international hotels; yet some locations offer little more than a temporary structure to house office and catering facilities. This diverse range of comfort reflects the needs of today’s travelers and is influenced by location and local customs. Some passengers see the FBO as a home away from home and prefer to spend time there before and after a flight, taking advantage of the personal services offered. However, many passengers choose to head straight to the aircraft and vice versa, never seeing the direct benefit of the FBO.

FBO Round Up:

Here we provide a brief round up of some global FBOs to consider. This is just a flavor of what is on offer by a few FBOs around the world.

Jet Aviation – USA, Europe, Middle East, Asia

Jet Aviation Reception JSJet Aviation is one of the biggest names in business aviation and offers a plethora of services, including maintenance, flight support and charter. The company’s FBO set up is also one of the finest in the industry, offering a level of service that it says is “personalized to perfection”. With a network across 4 continents, each of the VIP terminals offers conference rooms, business services, passenger and crew lounges, snooze rooms, crew showers and weather and flight planning services. A wide range of services for both passengers and crew can be arranged at each location.

Location Highlight: Geneva
The Geneva FBO is one of three Jet Aviation locations in Switzerland. In 2013, the facility underwent a total refurbishment and, as seen in this video, the result is a stunning and elegant facility for both passengers and crew alike. Passengers have a choice of different lounges (pictured in header and above) and a large conference room, and the crew are particularly well taken care of at this 2-story facility, with a spacious dedicated lounge, snooze room and crew transportation options. Located three miles from central Geneva, the FBO offers a range of service for passengers, including catering, executive transportation and hotel bookings.

ExecuJet – Global

From Bali to Cambridge and Valencia to Riyadh, ExecuJet has one of the most extensive networks in the industry. The company provides a broad range of FBO services at each of its 17 locations worldwide. All services have been fine tuned to offer tailored solutions for business and VIP clientele plus diplomatic and crisis flights.

Location Highlight: Dubai
The company’s FBO terminal in Dubai International Airport is ranked as the top FBO in the region, according to AIN’s recent FBO Survey *. Facilities here include a choice of meeting rooms and separate VIP lounges, as well as prayer rooms. The crew is also top of the agenda for ExecuJet at this, and all other locations and they can benefit from modern facilities, including showers, meeting rooms and a duty free shop!

The company has also opened a temporary expanded fixed-based operation (FBO) lounge in Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central.

Signature Flight Support

Signature Luton JSThe expertise and excellence associated with Signature Flight support services has spread throughout the world, across its 100+ strong network. The network continues to grow as the company rolls out its Signature Select partnership program that enables smaller, independent FBO locations to offer the same high standards of service under the Signature Select umbrella, giving passengers and crew a much wider network of trusted FBO locations to choose from.

All Signature locations provide first-rate flight support services, including fueling, hangar space, ground handling and aircraft maintenance at more than 100 airports world-wide.  Crew can also benefit from joining the Signature TailWins reward program, earning points on all fuel and handling transactions.

Location Highlight: London Luton
Signature’s London Luton FBO is currently undergoing a total transformation, and judging by the artist impressions (pictured)  of the new facilities, it is set to be one of the most impressive locations in the world, when it opens for service in 2015. Right now, Signature customers still enjoy the highest level of service and a range of facilities at the current location; including a conference room, pilot lounge and showers. There is also a brand new 74,000 sq ft hanger on site handling up to BBJ2 aircraft.

Universal Aviation

The aviation services of Universal Weather and Aviation have been appreciated all over the world for more than 50 years. Spanning 47 locations across 19 countries, the company is known for its professionalism and expertise across all ground handling services and its FBO locations are no exception; with great attention to detail, high level of customer service and a dedication to safety and security.

Location Highlight: Paris Le Bourget (LBG)
The company’s Paris Le Bourget (LBG) FBO has recently undergone a total refit with new interior design and layout, designed in collaboration with Ecuadorean designer Adriana Hoyos. One aspect that was improved is the distance for passengers to travel from their car to the aircraft. Now passengers are lead through the stylish entrance where they can, if they choose, enjoy a lounge and bar area; adjacent to this is a security check area, which leads direction out on to the apron. In total passengers have only 20 meters to walk to their aircraft. Crew also benefit from a dedicated flight operations center, meeting rooms and crew lounge. Air Culinaire Worldwide, which is owned by Universal, provides catering services at LBG.

AIN FBO Survey 2014:

Aviation International News (AIN) is a leading global publication for the aviation industry. In addition to its monthly trade publication, the group also publishes an e-newsletter, AINalerts and special reports and surveys.

AIN-TOP-RATED-FBO-SURVEY Reproduced with permission of Aviation International News/AIN www.ainonline.com

Note: Jetcraft has only chosen a selection of FBO companies for this review. There are many more to choose from around the world.


Common FBO Services

Here is a run down of the services that you can find at most FBO locations:

Ground Services:
De-icing
Fuel
Interior and exterior cleaning
Water services

Flight Services:
Weather and flight planning
Customs and immigration
International/domestic handling

Concierge Services:
Hotel and onward travel arrangements
Dry cleaning
Personal shopping services
Special request arrangements
Personal services

Catering:
All catering needs
Fine dining & Fast food
Beverages
Specialty dishes
Special dietary needs

Security:
Total privacy
VIP private areas
Discreet customs
Baggage and personal screening
Pet carriage