How to Choose your Fixed Base Operator

Posted on November 4, 2020 James Williams How to Choose your Fixed Base Operator

A Fixed Base Operator, or FBO, is a particularly luxurious perk of private jet travel. FBOs are essentially private terminals located in a stand-alone building away from the main terminal of an airport, where an array of services and amenities are available to private jet passengers, crew, and the aircraft themselves.

The term FBO can be traced back to the 1920s when civil aviation was essentially completely unregulated. There was a large surplus of aircraft retired after WW1 which made aircraft significantly more affordable to the average consumer. Throughout the U.S., casual aviators took advantage of this, leading to a boom in the industry. However, in 1926, the United State Air Commerce Act was enacted. This was the beginning of a more regulated era in aviation. Each pilot was required to be licensed, training became more rigorous, and aircraft maintenance standards became more stringent.
This laid the groundwork for the Fixed Base Operator. Mechanics and pilots everywhere started businesses to address the new requirements and provide services such as refueling, security, hangar management, and more. While FBOs are much different today, they still provide much of the same important service. In most airports around the world, there are multiple FBOs to choose from. Those who frequently fly private will generally have a favorite FBO for any number of reasons. However, many times an operator must decide which FBO is best suited to their client and aircraft. This blog will cover five factors to consider when choosing the right FBO.

  1. Aircraft Essentials
FBOs offer many essential business aviation services for your aircraft. These include fueling, hangar storage, de-icing, aircraft shelter, ground handling services, and more. As such, determining the availability of fuel and other services is an important task before making your decision. It is a good idea to partner with a flight support provider who can consult you on which FBO is suited to you and your aircraft.

  1. Passenger Amenities
Private jet charters have the reputation of offering a luxurious, customized experience to passengers. Travelers often receive VIP treatment at FBO amenities such as business centers, multimedia conference rooms, concierge services, access to ground transportation, complimentary food & drinks, and more. The amenities offered by an FBO often be a deciding factor.

  1. Pilot and Crew Amenities
In addition to those afforded to passengers, FBOs offer many services to pilots and crews as well. These include resting rooms, flight planning facilities, pilots’ lounges, bathrooms with showers, complimentary transportation, and a variety of media and entertainment offerings such as magazines, television, and newspapers.

  1. Lounge Area Luxury and Comfort
Since their introduction in the 1920s, FBOs have gradually become more and more luxurious. Many FBO loungers offer top-quality amenities and services like private rooms to relax before and after a flight, as well as five-star culinary options, and more. Furthermore, FBO lounges also provide quick, unobtrusive security and immigration checks. For this reason, the quality of the lounge and other facilities are an important factor to consider when deciding on an FBO.

  1. Customer Experience
In business aviation, customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance. FBOs that provide professional customer service with well-trained staff who have an in-depth knowledge of the local area and work in tandem with private jet travelers to ensure they have the best experience possible are valued over lesser FBOs.
            As stated, many airports have more than one FBO option. For instance, Paris Le Bourget, Europe’s busiest private jet airport, has eight. To decide which FBO will provide the best experience, all of these factors are important to consider. For all your other aircraft needs, Aerospace Purchasing is here to help.

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