In an effort to raise the bar on customer service, the Air Elite FBO network has joined forces with training providers Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center and ServiceElements. Formed last year from the remnants of the former ExxonMobil Avitat network, the fledgling Air Elite brand comprises 25 FBOs, including nearly all of the former U.S. Avitat locations, which decided to remain together after the oil company pulled the plug on its support of the brand. At a meeting last August in Phoenix, the city’s namesake mythological bird was much in the minds of the former members as the new network of aviation service providers rose from the ashes of Avitat.
“What we are trying to do with the Air Elite network is make sure that our locations stand out among all the other locations that are out there,” said Warren Boin, the network’s vice president of marketing. “The Air Elite personnel at each one of our locations have received training to Ritz-Carlton standards.”
At the end of September, members of the network attended a session in Dallas with the training providers that marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship, which is believed will help the network stand out in terms of the level of employee/customer interactions. “In order to rise above what is a standard in an industry that already has high standards we need to be exceptional,” Boin noted, adding the new training would give the facilities in the network “a baseline of exceptional service that you are going to receive no matter which location you visit.”
The Air Elite brand, owned by World Fuel Services (WFS) is a subset of premiere FBOs under the company’s banner. Here at NBAA (Booth No. 4253), the company rolled out the new Air Elite logo, which will soon be installed at its locations. WFS, which is a distributor for Phillips 66, also managed the Chevron/Texaco aviation fuel brand, but recently that petroleum refiner decided, like ExxonMobil a year earlier (which was distributed by WFS subsidiary Western Petroleum), that it was no longer interested in maintaining a general-aviation fuel brand. WFS is rebranding those former Chevron/Texaco FBOs as either Phillips 66 dealers or to its own new Ascent fuel brand based on individual FBO preferences. Once everything shakes out, WFS expects to supply fuel to 110 Ascent-branded FBOs, 630 Phillips 66 dealers and 460 unbranded FBOs worldwide.
Among those FBOs, Air Elite represents a showcase for locations invited to join. “It seems like there is a lot of interest in having an elite service brand, both within the remaining oil companies and with the other distributors,” Boin told AIN. “We’re building ours from within our own network.” FBOs seeking membership in Air Elite will have to satisfy a list of facility amenities and provided services before they are accepted. The network’s member management board is finalizing membership criteria. Once accepted into the brand, Air Elite FBOs can offer additional benefits to customers, such as quadruple Avcard points earned at the facility through WFS’s FlyBuys loyalty program. The company has also worked out deals for the brand with industry data providers such as Passur and Argus’s Traqpak.
While the majority of its locations are in North America, the Air Elite network also has an international presence in the form of Jet Aviation’s FBOs in Europe and Dubai. In early October, the St. Thomas Jet Center was added, giving Air Elite its first foothold in the Caribbean.