The aviation industry has been undergoing many changes in recent years. While the demand for services continues to increase, investors and asset owners are concerned about escalating costs of operation and aspects related to profitability. To understand aviation fixed base operation management better, it is important to understand the role of FBOs, also called Fixed Base Operators. In this post, we take a look at some of the basic aspects.
Understanding the work of FBOs
In simpler terms, Fixed-base operator (FBO) refers to an organization that has the necessary rights to provide core line services such as aircraft handling, hangaring and fueling at airports. These companies are important as they keep the wheels in motion for general aviation operators. At small municipal and small commercial airports FBOs manage almost everything related to aviation fixed base operation management.
While there may be any number of tenants at an airport, due to their provision of essential services such as fuel and operation of a general aviation passenger terminal, FBOs are generally considered anchor tenants. FBOs are usually the hub of activity and communication at a general aviation airport, and at commercial airports they serve as a hub for most non-commercial activity. FBOs usually also provide ancillary services tangential to terminal operations which include:
• Passenger lounges
• Flight planning and weather monitoring facilities
• Pilot’s lounges and rest/sleep areas
• Conference room facilities
• Arranging catering for the aircraft as well as other sundries such as coffee, beverages, reading materials, etc.
• Aircraft washing
• De-icing (where applicable)
• Arranging ground transportation
• Other services
They are typically classified as “Full Service” if they offer services beyond the core services of handling, fueling and hangaring of aircraft..
The need for outsourcing
With changing dynamics, outsourcing is a norm in almost any industry, and aviation is no different. Today, asset owners and financial institutions are driven by the need for efficiency and profitability. They don’t want to be bogged down by the weight of managing non-core divisions, when an efficient team can provide turn-key solutions for outsourced management. Outsourcing not only helps by increasing efficiency through the use of industry wide best practices, but it can also deliver materially higher customer satisfaction.
If you are considering professional management for your aviation portfolio, there are several important factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, you need to be sure that you have hired a team on the requisite direct experience to meet your needs. They should have prior experience of handling clients with similar requirements as yours and should have experience across various sizes and types of airports. Second, ensure the company provides you with a detailed management plan tailored to meet your needs. Third, ensure that the company can provide you with references who will attest to their prior work. This is the best way of ensuring you will receive the benefit of the experience you seek.
If you want to maximize the value of your aviation assets, consider hiring a professional management company for your FBO management and aviation management needs.