Cutter expands with new base in Dallas

 - May 6, 2008, 10:11 AM

This summer, Cutter Aviation opened its fifth FBO, this time serving Big D at Dallas Executive Airpark. Formerly Redbird Airport (RBD), Dallas Executive is a 10-minute car trip from downtown and has a 6,451-ft runway with ILS, VOR and GPS approaches. The airport has recently been upgraded with $12 million worth of runway, terminal and tower improvements. Cutter built a $3 million facility on 10 acres at RBD, with a terminal building and attached hangar next to three acres of ramp. The complex features a large customer reception area, pilots lounges, weather briefing areas and multiple offices. Cutter also built a new fuel farm with a pair of 14,000-gal tanks—one for jet-A, the other for avgas. Like all Cutter FBOs, the new location is a Phillips 66 Aviation Performance Center.

Will Cutter, the third-generation president and CEO who runs the company along with his sister, Kay, said, the company has more than doubled its business in the last five years, now pumping more than 14.5 million gallons of fuel among its five locations. “Profits from our two biggest revenue producers, aircraft sales and fuel sales, are evenly split,” he added. A Piper aircraft dealer, Cutter also sells Aviat Huskies and Raytheon Beech aircraft, as well as tapping the pre-owned marketplace for sales.

The original Cutter Aviation was founded in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1928 by barnstormer, William P. Cutter. That FBO is still in business, and is joined by operations in Phoenix and Deer Valley, Ariz., and El Paso, Texas. With the 20 employees at Cutter in Dallas, the company employs more than 300 in total. The founder’s son, Bill Cutter (Will and Kay’s father), who turned over the business to his children five years ago, said, “My kids have been even more successful at expanding the business. They’ve built up the aircraft sales side and they’ve started looking toward other opportunities like ground service equipment and jetway maintenance, chartering and travel agency services. The most innovative business move they’ve made has to be the development of a maintenance department in Phoenix servicing the airport’s ground service and jetway equipment. It has become a great profit center.”

Will Cutter said, “At one time, we actually looked at opportunities in the Northwest, but we realized that we wouldn’t be able to maintain that all-important family-style presence if we spread ourselves too far afield. As it is, I can jump in the Baron and be at any location within a couple of hours. That’s important to me and my sister–and my dad, who still walks the hangar almost every day.”™