ExecuJet Europe and France’s Ad- vanced Air Support (AAS) launched their new joint-venture FBO at Paris Le Bourget on October 7. AAS is part of France’s Jet Services Group, which has invested almost $1.4 million in the facility that it acquired when it bought Aero Services Handling last year. Now it is set to invest up to another $13 million to upgrade the group’s maintenance operation at Le Bourget, and also to add two more hangars.
Over the past few months the partners refurbished an existing facility, which features two passenger lounges and a pilot lounge, as well as a separate crew rest room and two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, plus a snooze room. The facility also offers a wireless Internet connection, satellite TV, catering, parking, meeting rooms and a concierge service. Adjoining the building are a 172,200-sq-ft hangar and 193,750 sq ft of ramp space. The 24/7 operation has 28 employees; there are approximately 30 aircraft based at the facility.
The 1923 building, one of the original structures at this historic airport, has been sensitively and pragmatically modernized. For example, the cleverly designed groundside-to-airside corridor means passengers traverse barely 50 feet from their limousines to the steps of the aircraft–an advantage at an airport where tough new security rules have made ramp access more difficult. Another innovation is a block of walk-in closets in the hangar that visiting aircrew can use to store equipment, supplies and luggage.
Paris Le Bourget will be the third European FBO in the ExecuJet Aviation group’s portfolio, with existing facilities in Zurich and Berlin. According to Cedric Migeon, managing director of ExecuJet Europe, the Switzerland-based business aviation services group will bring AAS international marketing exposure and access to a global network. ExecuJet also has operations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia and it is making plans to expand into New Zealand.
The Jet Services Group also includes Uni Air Entreprise, with maintenance operations at both Le Bourget and Toulouse Blagnac airports; Toulouse-based aircraft management company Aerovision; continuing airworthiness specialist Camo Air Support; and maintenance provider Business and Commuter Aircraft at Lyon Bron Airport. Uni Air specializes in support for Dassault Falcons and Hawker Beechcraft aircraft, while Business and Commuter Aircraft focuses on Beechcraft and Cessna products.
Uni Air’s facility at Le Bourget, which is just across the ramp from the new FBO, is set to move into a new hangar as part of a $3.5 million development. Jet Services is also proposing to add two hangars to provide almost 125,000 sq ft more covered space.
“We chose Paris because it is one of the busiest business aviation airports in the world,” said Migeon, who added that ExecuJet opted for a partnership with AAS because it felt it had the best customer service mindset at the airport. But Le Bourget is a competitive environment with no fewer than seven FBOs.
Last year, admittedly a slow period for traffic, there were some 58,000 movements at the airport–for an average of almost 160 per day. AAS said it is currently averaging 20 to 25 movements each day. Migeon said September this year had been the best month for ExecuJet’s FBO business since January, when its Zurich facility handled traffic for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
AAS has direct access to fuel at all hours. It also has its own de-icing truck, which it claims sets it apart at an airport where there is only one other such vehicle available to the other FBOs.