They’re “gas stations for airplanes.” But much more. Business aviation terminals, aka FBOs, are what the passengers see when they fly private. Attractive yet no-nonsense amenities and efficient aircraft fueling capabilities are key to the Fixed Base Operation sector, where improvements are constantly being made.
Million Air’s flagship FBO at White Plains, NY, which opened in 2019 with a Chris Isaak show, is shown here.
Atlantic Expands at Chicago Executive
Credit: Atlantic Aviation
Atlantic Aviation is investing $10.9 million in a new, 25,000-sq.-ft. hangar at Chicago Executive. The firm will be able to house aircraft as large as the Gulfstream G650/700 and Bombardier Global 7500 in the new space. The project will increase Atlantic hangar space at the airport to 86,500 sq. ft. The facility will include 3,000 sq. ft. of office and shop space, Atlantic says, noting that it’s adding two acres of ramp apron too, and a 72,000-gal. fuel farm. Completion is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Duncan Earns IS-BAH Stage Two at Four
Credit: Duncan Aviation
Duncan Aviation has earned International Safety for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) Stage II accreditation at all four of its FBOs: most recently at Battle Creek and Kalamazoo in Michigan, as well as locations in Lincoln, NE and Provo, UT (the company’s newest, shown here) in 2020. “Our teams embody our safety culture every single day, and they’re committed to the safety of their teammates, the facility and our customers,” said Benjamin Hammond, who manages FBO services at the Michigan facilities. “Their safety mindset has not only lowered incidents, but it’s also bolstered our safety record over the last five years,” he said.
ExecuJet Opens FBO in Tel Aviv
Credit: Tourist Israel
Luxaviation’s ExecuJet’s unit is opening an FBO in Tel Aviv. It’s located as part of the luxury Fattal Terminal at Ben Gurion Airport and managed in partnership with Flyeast, an upscale Israeli aviation and tourism company. Offered services include VIP passenger processing, supervisory aircraft handling, concierge services, flight arrangements and charter solutions.
“We’re now finalizing key project elements such as passenger flow,” said Mike Berry, ExecuJet aviation services president and Middle East VP. ExecuJet “is working with Flyeast to establish a charter business unit in Tel Aviv,” Berry said, “as an extension of our global charter network.” The FBO facility in Tel Aviv will allow ExecuJet to capitalize on increased traffic in the region stemming from the treaty signed last year by Israel and the United Arab Emirates, he said.
Galaxy Building Its Third Texas FBO
Credit: Black Forest Aviation
Galaxy FBO operates facilities at Houston Hobby and a new location at Conroe North Houston Regional, and has broken ground for third FBO at Addison Airport, north of Dallas. The Galaxy FBO at Addison will be on the southeast side of the airport. It will have a 20,000-sq.-ft. terminal with pilot lounge with showers and a snooze room, a passenger lounge, onsite car rental, and concierge service. Two 38,000-sq.-ft. hangars and a 30,000-sq.-ft. hangar “will be able to accommodate the latest large cabin business jets,” says Galaxy FBO parent Black Forest Aviation.
“Our new facility will provide the much needed hangar space for our corporate and general aviation clients, while providing more job opportunities,” said Jeremy Gee, Black Forest managing director.
Hadid Expands for the Riviera
Credit: Hadid International Services
Dubai-based Hadid International Services has been in partnership since 2017 with Riviera Airport (Italy’s first privately owned airport), a gateway to Monaco and, the company says, “myriad other popular regional destinations along the Franco-Italian Riviera”--Monte-Carlo, Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Genoa among them. Hadid is talking up a newly upgraded terminal and FBO at the picturesque Albenga location: “After a long trip,” the company says, “the upmarket, Italian furnishings and quality amenities present at Hadid Riviera allow travellers to unwind in a relaxed atmosphere.” The firm is further promoting “a full range of ancillary aviation services such as ground handling and crew/pax concierge at Riviera Airport.”
Hampton Roads Adding Five Hangars
Credit: Hampton Roads Executive Airport
“Infrastructure good enough for the President!” says Steve Fox, co-owner of Virginia’s Hampton Roads Executive Airport, citing a May 3 visit by President Biden. To make the FBO even better, management broke ground early in June on five 12,000-sq.-ft. west apron hangars, Fox reports, and “Two of the five are already leased.” In addition to the new hangars, the airport is adding a 5,350-ft. east-west runway and “contemporary executive terminal.” A new fuel farm is to become operational next year, and a terminal apron expansion is being bid. Hampton Roads Executive affords easy access to the Virginia coastal towns of Newport News, Norfolk, Hampton, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.
Jet Aviation Opens at Scottsdale
Credit: Jet Aviation
Jet Aviation, which operates upwards of 30 FBOs worldwide, bought into the Scottsdale Jet Center in May 2019 and early this year trumpeted full ownership and the opening of an all-new facility there. In addition to the existing office, hangar and aircraft storage at the Arizona field, Jet now operates an 8,500-sq.-ft. FBO and a 30,000-sq.-ft. hangar. It’s “state-of-the-art,” the company says, with “a generous lobby, passenger and crew lounges, pilot snooze rooms, a conference room, meeting room, and weather and flight planning facilities.” Jet Aviation Scottsdale can accommodate aircraft up to the size of the Gulfstream 650 and the Global 6000.
Million Air Opens in El Paso
Credit: Million Air
Million Air’s latest FBO has opened in El Paso, its fifth location in Texas and its 32nd overall. The new location boasts 10,069 sq. ft. of VIP lobby space, 23,383 sq. ft. of hangar space, a “dramatic” 6,000-sq.-ft. aircraft porte-cochere and more than five acres of ramp space “capable of supporting any aircraft type.” The new terminal includes a cafe, refreshment bar, pilot’s lounge, snooze rooms, flight planning room, and a multi-media conference room. “Our operation will provide unmatched services and amenities for air travel that no one in this region has experienced before,” said Paul Foster, owner of Million Air parent Franklin Mountain Investments.
“With four other locations in Texas, we feel like we have a good understanding of the market,” said Million Air CEO Roger Woolsey. “We are confident we can deliver a facility and service level that will be unrivaled at this airport.”
Texas Jet Expands at Meacham
Credit: Phillips 66
Phillips 66 is talking up an expanded presence for its Texas Jet branded FBO at Fort Worth’s Meacham International, where hangar space has been boosted by 65,000 sq. ft., enough to accommodate 20 additional aircraft. The family-owned FBO now serves more than 100 aircraft across 23 hangars at Meacham. And, just in February, Texas Jet broke ground on yet another hangar, expected to be completed this year, adding 39,000 sq. ft., and bringing its total hangar space at Meacham to more than a half a million sq. ft.
Two more hangars are planned, Phillips 66 says. “We stick with pumping fuel and operating our executive terminal and try to do it better than anyone else,” said Texas Jet founder and president Reed Pigman. “We’re picking up approximately two to three new transient turbine customers per week.”
Universal Spiffs Up in Spain
Credit: Universal Aviation
Universal Aviation, which took over operation of general aviation terminals in Barcelona and Madrid in 2019, is promoting improvements there in the context of more destinations opening to travel as the Covid-19 pandemic ebbs in key markets. Universal notes that its GATs, general aviation terminals, at Madrid Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat International feature all new lounges and meeting rooms for crew and passengers. They are run as Spanish FBO-Madrid and Spanish FBO-Barcelona, respectively. Universal continues to provide timely updates on the pandemic, with country-by-country guides to Covid-19 travel requirements.
Yingling Celebrates 75 Years with Additional Growth
Credit: Yingling Aviation
Yingling Aviation, which lays claim to becoming the first Cessna dealer in 1946, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year by further expanding its Wichita FBO, adding upwards of 50,000 sq. ft. of office and hangar space at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. The firm did so by acquiring three hangars to augment its existing 200,000 sq. ft. of MRO space.
“The acquisition of these three hangars comes at an ideal time, not just from a historical perspective, but also a practical one,” said Andrew Nichols, Yingling president. The additional space will allow Yingling to expand its MRO support of Cessna Citation and King Air models, he said. The additional hangars, Nichols noted, “make it possible for us to build lasting partnerships with an increasing number of aircraft owners and operators.”
FBOs from Tel Aviv to Texas are updating facilities and services. Check out the changes.