Growth through acquisition is the current modus operandi among the larger FBO chains. Landmark Aviation’s recent FBO acquisitions also fill a void in its domestic and international network.

“We have had substantial growth over the last year, the biggest being our recent acquisition of (the 20 FBOs) of Ross Aviation,” said Dan Bucaro, Landmark’s president and CEO. “It really filled in the West Coast and Hawaii. It was a good transaction for us to improve our network relevance with our customers.”

Landmark enhanced its European footprint this year with acquisition and rebranding of the former RSS Jet Centre FBOs at Manchester, London Luton and Glasgow Prestwick in the UK.

“We are now at three of the top five European locations” for business aviation, said Bucaro. Landmark FBOs also operate at Nice and Paris-Le Bourget.

Landmark now has a total of 76 FBOs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Houston-based company continues to enhance its existing properties as well. The company completed this summer its new $40 million complex at San Diego International Airport. The FBO campus features a 19,000-square-foot terminal a 250,000-square-foot ramp and five hangars on 12.4 acres. The campus will achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, said Landmark. Landmark too is enhancing its facilities in Norfolk, Va. and Greensboro, N.C.

In an interview prior to NBAA, Bucaro gave his views on the economy and challenges to the FBO industry.

“From a macro standpoint, the economy is growing slowly. Hopefully, we will see sustainable growth,” he told ShowNews, adding that the company’s charter and aircraft management business will continue to aid the bottom line.

One emerging challenge for FBOs is how to service and hangar the increasing size of business aircraft. Many FBO hangars, even those of the larger chains, cannot handle large business aircraft such as the Gulfstream 650, Bombardier Global 5000/6000 and Boeing Business Jet and Airbus ACJ 319 Elegance.

“The move toward larger cabin aircraft is putting real pressure on hangar space around the country,” said Bucaro. “Over the next decade, FBOs will have to make significant investments (in building larger hangars) and to meet the requirements of the new larger aircraft.”

Airports have a role to play in ensuring that its FBO tenants are well positioned to grow and profit from their location. But, occasionally, airports can impede growth through bad decision-making. Such was the case recently when the Houston City Council approved the application of Galaxy to be the sixth FBO at William P. Hobby Airport. (Galaxy is not related to Galaxy Aviation, which is now part of Atlantic Aviation).

“It is absolutely ridiculous,” said Bucaro. “Putting another FBO at Hobby makes no sense to me.” But Hobby is the exception, not the rule, he adds. “We deal with a lot of airports, and most don’t think like Hobby. Most airports understand that they need to have right amount of FBOs (on site) so that the investment levels can be sustained.”

As part of its expansion plans, in March Landmark made several key personnel appointments. Patrick ‘Pat’ McGuiness was appointed EVP and CFO; Ted Hamilton was named COO; Charlotte Cheatham was promoted to SVP, marketing and customer service; Robert Hiegel became SVP and chief accounting officer; and Matt DeLellis became SVP of strategy and corporate development.

Landmark Aviation is at Booth 2246.