Tyler Jet thrives in competitive environment

 - October 9, 2007, 9:20 AM

Tyler Jet founder and owner Tim Beverley believes that it’s smart business for pilots to back-load fuel rather than tanker with full loads from home base. The extra wear on engines, tires and brakes is only part of the reason for buying inexpensive fuel on the way home from a round-robin trip, rather than on the way out. Tyler Jet is located at Tyler (Texas) Airport (TYR), with its 7,200- by 150-ft Runway 4/22 and ILS-equipped 5,200- by 150-ft Runway 13/31.

Tyler Jet’s near-term goal is to do more than $100,000 per month in gross revenues on general aviation, airline and military fuel sales, as well as charter and flight school operations, said Orville Winover, brought out of retirement by Beverley to expand Tyler Jet. Despite the disruption of September 11, Tyler Jet last year reached its marketing goal of pumping more than 100,000 gal of aviation fuels. “Actually, corporate traffic has increased since September 11, and we believe this trend will continue through this year,” said Winover.

The attraction for corporate pilots to Tyler is its 350,000 sq ft of ramp space and its willingness to negotiate fuel discounts for repeat customers. A Phillips 66 Aviation Performance Center, Tyler Jet has seen growth of 6 percent per month since switching to Phillips 66 as a fuel supplier. The FBO installed a tank farm that includes three 10,000-gal jet-A tanks and one 10,000-gal avgas tank. Tyler Jet also fields a pair of 3,000-gal refuelers and a 1,200-gal truck.

Winover performed a six-month survey to analyze pilot habits among the more than 600 owners and operators who visited the FBO. The study revealed that 65 percent were one-off fly-in customers who stopped for fuel, but 25 percent were corporate customers who came back regularly. “The survey results provided a benchmark and a road map on how to change our business and use new marketing tactics to enlarge our future customer base. I want pilots and owners to say, ‘Let’s slip into Tyler, see the guys there and maybe have an opportunity to negotiate a jet-fuel contract,’” said Winover.