NetJets “soft opened” its new 10,000-sq-ft dedicated passenger terminal solely for the fractional provider’s customers at Palm Beach (Fla.) International Airport last month, almost exactly a year after breaking ground on the facility. A formal grand opening is scheduled for November 6, but AIN was able to get a first look at the new complex just before the NBAA Convention this week.
The $13-million facility was developed and constructed and is now being run under a partnership between Signature Flight Support and NetJets. Under the arrangement, Signature maintains the building and provides the ground-handling staff; NetJets has a customer service agent based at the facility.
Amenities at the private terminal include passenger and crew lounges, crew rest areas, conference room, a private customer business center and flight-planning facilities. Notably, it also has a kid’s area, complete with beanbag chairs and an Xbox 360. The interior layout was modeled after NetJets’s passenger terminal at Van Nuys (Calif.) Airport, which opened last year and also operates under a similar arrangement with Signature.
Outside, there are six acres of paved ramp space, aircraft movement areas and restricted-access auto parking. Thanks to an agreement with the airport authority, passengers can be met planeside with a car or limo, meaning some might never even step foot inside the finely appointed terminal.
According to NetJets North America president and COO Bill Noe, Palm Beach is the fourth-busiest location for NetJets, with the company logging 10,000 aircraft movements there annually. Though traffic to South Florida is typically busier over the winter months, he said NetJets aircraft movements at Palm Beach are fairly steady throughout the year.
Noe said NetJets decided to build the dedicated facility because of this high level of activity and the company’s desire to enhance and extend the NetJets experience to the ground side. “We wanted the comfort and confinement of an exclusive facility that also gives more privacy and security to our customers,” he told AIN. To this end, the fractional provider also has private passenger facilities at other high-traffic areas besides Palm Beach and Van Nuys, including Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Atlanta Peachtree-DeKalb Airport.
NetJets’s Palm Beach terminal is the first passenger facility to be built at the northwest area at the airfield, which eventually will be the future home to all the south-side FBOs once a parallel runway outlined in the airport master plan is built, though any such addition is on hold until the economy improves, according to airport executive director Bruce Pelly. Under this master plan, the current FBOs on the south side, which includes Signature’s and Jet Aviation’s existing facilities at Palm Beach Airport, would need to be demolished to make way for the new runway at some point in the future.