FBO PROFILE: Skyservice Avitat

 - October 10, 2006, 9:15 AM

People fly on general aviation aircraft because they can go where they want to, when they want to. It stands to reason that you don’t hear much about trips to the Gulf Coast of Texas in mid-summer (not voluntary ones, anyway) or trips to northern Canadian lake regions for the traditional February school vacation week.

But flip the calendar five months forward and those crisp blue-sky days and cool starry nights in Canada start looking pretty good. Pilots and flight department managers are often cast in the role of travel agent, and they often count on a good FBO to help with the logistics of getting their passengers safely and efficiently to the best fishing spots.

Lyn Shinn, who coordinates national charter for Skyservice Avitat FBOs in Toronto and Montreal, told AIN that off-season temperatures sometimes reach extreme levels in the land of the maple leaf. She said, “I took a canoe trip last year to near the Arctic. We had snow–in the first week of August. I have pictures of us in full hats and mitts.”

Even if you’ll settle for a frosty cooler next to a lake or trout stream, Skyservice Avitat can set it up. You can plan to fly up to the large, convenient airports in Toronto or Montreal, then park the jet in favor of a floatplane for the deep woods. If you don’t operate a jet of your own, the two Skyservice Avitat FBOs are complemented by a growing charter/management division (34 jets at press time) and a sister-company airline. “We can take care of you right up to the Airbus level,” said Shinn.

How much of Skyservice’s summer business involves arranging bush flights? “We get those calls daily,” said Shinn. Though its focus is clearly on the loftier side of business aviation, Skyservice maintains close liaison with several bush aircraft operators and can make arrangements for a safe, convenient trip. “We believe strongly in being a one-phone-call operation,” said Shinn.

Even if business or pleasure doesn’t involve a trip beyond Toronto Pearson (CYYZ) or Montreal Dorval (CYUL) Airports, Skyservice will be an asset to your trip planning. Both FBOs ranked among the top 30 in this year’s AIN FBO Survey covering North, Central and South America–Skyservice Avitat Toronto number eight and Skyservice Avitat Montreal number 26.

Skyservice Facilities

The company was founded in 1986 with the Dorval facility. Twelve years ago, company founder Russell Payson acquired an ex-airline hangar at Toronto Pearson Airport and refurbished it with huge expanses of glass facing the airside. In November 2001, Skyservice opened its new CYYZ location at midfield, with a similarly designed steel-and-glass structure and easier access to the runways. The terminal covers 11,000 sq ft with an additional 35,000 sq ft of courtesy office space. Hangar space totals better than 200,000 sq ft, always leaving room inside for transients. That can be important during the frigid Canadian winter months.

Whether travel plans call for stopping in Montreal or Toronto, crews can anticipate pilot lounges and quiet rooms, fitness and weight rooms on site, full flight-planning facilities, courtesy shuttles and on-site rental cars. Passengers appreciate the executive lounge, conference rooms (for on-airport meetings), catering, limousine service and hotel reservation availability. Both locations also feature wireless Internet access. And just in case one of those extreme Alberta Clippers blows down from the polar regions this summer, Skyservice Avitat has full de-icing capability at both locations.