There are fewer and fewer full-service FBOs, the kind that offer charter, maintenance and even a flying school in addition to fuel and aircraft storage. And those that survive usually aren’t found at one of the airports serving a major metropolitan area such as New York City. Panorama Flight Service is one of that rare breed, and in April the FBO celebrated its 50th year in business at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. To mark the anniversary, Panorama held an open house that drew more than 1,500 people from the local area. “We picked up 10 students, half a dozen real prospects for ownership and probably a couple of good prospects for jet charter,” said Panorama president Gene Condreras.
Condreras’ stepfather Ted Healy and his father, Ted Sr., started the company in 1958 as a sightseeing operation offering rides over New York City’s “asphalt jungle.” Under the younger Healy’s guidance this grew into a large charter and maintenance business, and the FBO was opened in 1981. In 2002 Panorama completed a 10,800-sq-ft FBO/office terminal on a 21-acre site at Westchester County Airport. The facility includes a 20,000-sq-ft main hangar, two 3,500-sq-ft clear-span hangars and 32 T-hangars. Condreras has worked for Panorama in almost every capacity since he started there more than 25 years ago, and although he has had an enormous influence over Panorama’s success, he attributes the company’s growth to Panorama’s 70 employees. “It’s all about being a good listener,” he said, “hearing what’s important to the customer and being fair and honest. It’s not rocket science.”