Have you ever thought why you never saw Beyonce or another celebrity boarding their private jet? The answer is simple: because they use FBOs, which are fixed based operators. There are two different types of FBOs, as some are part of the main terminal, while others are stand alone buildings. An FBO offers all the peace and privacy a traditional airport can’t offer, but they are more than this.
Small FBOs offer lots of intimacy, while larger ones look like five star hotel lounges. All the people who work in these establishments understand their client’s needs and know how to satisfy them. Their clients are able to sip from their favorite cocktails, while someone else takes care of their luggage and they can even be allowed to ride their own car to the plane, if they want to
FBOs have a long history
FBOs are not new to the world; they’ve been around since the end of World War I. When young pilots returned home and felt the need to fly again, they started to establish their own businesses. These passionate pilots set out and found the best places for flying and built hangars on them. They provided a lot of high class services for their equally high class clients, ranging from flying lessons to flight-related services for private jets. In time, they became known as fixed base operators and their businesses turned into the high class establishments we know today
FBOs can be really profitable
Depending on their location and the services they offer, they can be profitable, which is why there are many FBO for sale. An FBO offers a quiet waiting space for the clients, without the long waiting lines or the security checks, but can also offer hangar rental and maintenance services. Aircraft sales can also be provided. However, many FBOs make a profit from fuel sales, which is the main service offered by FBOs
The FBO is usually hard to find
Few people know where these FBOs are actually located, because these establishments are low key. As the clients want to have a quiet experience, there are no signs towards the FBOs. Security is high, so you usually need to call the FBO before arriving. Large airports can have more than ten FBOs, so knowing at which one you want to arrive is important.
FBOs are usually family affairs and are run by families who love the aviation business. Those FBOs which are now managed by airports were also started by passionate pilots and their families. In rare cases, companies take over FBOs and develop FBO chains, maximizing the profit. Either way, locals are the ones who manage these establishments and they become really accustomed with their clients and their own specific needs and desires.