Decoding the Demand for Fixed Base Operators in Aviation

Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) are extremely important for airport operations, and choosing the right management company is critical for your business.

The aviation industry has witnessed phenomenal growth in the last two decades. Business has increased substantially, and passengers are very keen on getting quality services for the price they pay. One of the major concerns for investors, general aviation users, and airplane owners is the management of services provided on-airport. This is precisely where the need for fixed-base operators (FBOs) becomes very evident. Who are FBOs? What do they do? What should you evaluate when choosing an FBO management service? In this post, we will try to answer these questions along with other relevant points.

Understanding services of FBOs

A fixed-base operator is usually a company or organization that has the right and permissions to work at an airport, mainly for diverse kinds of aeronautical services. FBOs handle most of the charter and private aircraft activities at an airport and work various types of private operators at the same time. FBOs are expected to offer support and services that help in easing the various processes at different public-use airports. These companies operate at major and regional airports and ensure efficient air transportation activity their customers.

Services offered

FBOs offer all sorts of different services, depending on the needs of the airport and its customer base. Typically, their primary job is related to airport facility management, aircraft fueling and aircraft handling. Aircraft Charter and Management (ACM) companies and other private aviation customers use such companies for managing their daily flight operations requirements, such as aircraft fueling, aircraft handling, and managing the overall passenger experience. Some FBOs also deal with Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) along with Aircraft Charter and Management (ACM) as different options. Other services include a wider range of ancillary on-airport services such as catering, de-icing, etc.

What else to know?

Most FBOs and aviation service providers work under lease directly from the airport from which the services are offered. In most cases, such contracts and leases have relatively long terms, which allows the service provider to establish and achieve returns from its investments over time. All contracts generally include a list of operational rights, along with relevant restrictions, which must be adhered by the FBO for conducting business. If you are an investor or stakeholder, hiring a professional FBO management company may be the best way to maximize your aviation assets’ value. Professional FBO management has become more common over the last 20 years.

What is the company’s management experience? Aviation management companies should have deep experience around varying types of airports and through different economic cycles. When you choose an FBO, you need to know their overall track record and experience across all operations.
What’s their international experience? Having exposure in the global aviation industry is also very crucial and should be considered one of the strengths of a professional service provider. The relevant company should be able to handle the owner’s growth and expansion plans, both domestically and globally.
Finally, what are the services that they can offer? As mentioned earlierArticle Submission, different airports may require additional services beyond core line service. You need to know their range of expertise and capabilities they can provide in addition to basic line service.