New chain Encore FBO now has four bases, having purchased Business Aviation Services of Sioux Falls, S.D., late last year. Encore’s other U.S. location is Addison, Texas, where it has a management agreement to operate facilities and provide fuel. In Europe, Encore FBO bought two FBOs, Euralair at Paris Le Bourget and FBO Dublin in Ireland. An Encore spokeswoman told AIN, “We’re working on getting the fueling rights” in Dublin. Headquartered in Houston, Encore FBO is backed by private-equity firm Platform Partners.
The South Dakota FBO was purchased 11 years ago by Richard Smith and Dale Froelich, who built the facility from a small mom ’n’ pop into a large FBO (annual revenues of $27 million and 220 employees) providing charter/management, aircraft sales, cargo charter and 10 million gallons of fuel annually delivered to airlines and general aviation operators.
“We’ve done really well being located in a small city,” Smith said. A number of FBO chains expressed interest in buying Business Aviation, he added. The Encore FBO leaders “really seemed to be ethical people. That was very important to me.
We didn’t have to sell it, but both of us know that ma and pa operations last only so long. It’s like children: you love them, but there’s a sense of sadness because I built the [FBO] from the ground up.”
Smith, a pilot who often flew jet charters for Business Aviation and owns a kitbuilt RV-8, kept some airplanes that he is leasing back to the FBO.