Universal Weather & Aviation, which provides a variety of preflight and in-flight services, has also set up FBO facilities at 15 locations in Europe over the last few years. The latest additions, announced at an EBACE press conference here yesterday, include a refurbished historic hangar at Paris Le Bourget, with overnight space for several large aircraft, new lounges for VIP passengers, crews and drivers, customs clearance at aircraft, a business center and Internet access in all areas.
The U.S.-based group also announced the opening of a new FBO in Dublin, its second facility in Ireland after Shannon. In Rome, Universal was recently able to take over ground handling for its customers from the official airport company at Ciampino Airport, following liberalization of rules in Italy.
Universal’s facilities are either run by the company as fully owned subsidiaries, or in partnership with local operators in an organization called UV Global Network. In both cases, the staff is trained to Universal standards.
Universal Weather & Aviation, founded in 1959 as an aviation weather information office in Houston, Texas, has grown into a global aviation services company with a staff of 12,000 and 14,000 UVair Fueling cardholders. The company offers start-to-finish trip support, including preflight weather information, security briefing, assistance with flight plans, visas and passport requirements, catering, ground transportation and hotel arrangements, plus in-flight updates as required and ground handling at selected locations.
For many years, the company catered mainly to American customers and international customers via its Houston headquarters. Recognizing the growing importance of the European market, the company opened a European operations center at London’s Stansted Airport three years ago to provide customers with more local information for their trips within the Continent, as well as for intercontinental flights starting in Europe.
Universal announced at EBACE a considerable expansion of services offered for flights into Russia and the CIS states, according to Jonathan Howells, regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. –T.S.