New FBO association forming

 - September 20, 2006, 4:46 AM

Another aviation association is forming, this time to serve FBOs with three or fewer facilities. The Independent Fixed Base Operators Association (IFBOA) is the brainchild of John Wraga Jr., president and CEO of the Cambridge Group of Bedford, Mass. “I visit a lot of small FBOs,” said Wraga. “They all had the idea. They need an association that can support them.”

The purpose of the IFBOA, he said, is to combine resources so that small FBOs can save money on products such as ground-service equipment and national marketing. The association could also help small FBOs combine forces to spend advertising dollars more effectively and set up a national Web site with information on each facility. A lot of FBOs aren’t getting good training for personnel, he added, and the association would help FBOs with training programs that are reasonably priced. “They realize their standards are low,” he said, “and a lot have failed inspections by NetJets.”

Wraga estimates that there are 2,500 to 3,000 FBOs in the U.S. that could qualify to join IFBOA. He hoped to have a board meeting at the end of the second quarter or beginning of the third quarter, followed by a convention early next year.

Explaining why the aviation industry needs such an association, Wraga said that many small FBOs don’t feel that existing associations are serving their interests. “They don’t want to compete [for attention] with bigger chains,” he explained.