If pilots flying into Hawthorne Municipal Airport/Jack Northrop Field on the morning of November 22 wondered why the airport was closed for an hour-and-a-half, the notam announcing the closing didn’t provide much information except to cite “construction testing” and a “business event.” The business event turned out to be the first stop of a two-day Nike Golf “whistle-stop” tour, where famous golfers fly in to promote Nike’s new series of drive
Airports, Heliports and FBOs » FBOs
New developments at FBOs including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, acquisitions and mergers.
Nathan Landow doesn’t like the acronym FBO. The new Dulles Jet Center (DJC) that he and his sons built on the east side of Dulles International Airport in Virginia looks like an FBO, but he calls it a “flight service center.” It offers traditional FBO services in a facility convenient to Runway 19.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a new office at Santa Maria Airport (SMX) on December 4, with operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Jim Kunkle, president of FBO Central Coast Jet Center, said that Santa Maria is a frequent launch point for business jet flights to Hawaii. The first customer to use the new customs service was a BBJ flying from Asia early last month.
Air traffic controllers at Canada’s Ottawa International Airport can now “see” traffic on the airport surface in the southwest area of the airport using a computer vision-based airport surface detection (ASD) system installed by Searidge Technologies. The Searidge system detects aircraft, vehicles, people and other objects using a network of digital-imaging sensors coupled to computer-vision technology.
Burrows Aviation is building a new FBO at Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (SBM) in Wisconsin. Scheduled to open next month, the FBO is owned by Ron Burrows, a pilot and real estate developer. The FBO will offer a conference room, weather data, wireless Internet access and AirBP fuel. It will also house a full-service restaurant that will provide catering services.
Pilots no longer need to complain about the tight ramp space at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport FBO Banyan Air Services. The FBO opened a new terminal and ramp on December 7. The new terminal includes a 2,800-sq-ft lobby with an 800-gallon saltwater aquarium, a waterfall, palm trees, three pilot lounges and separate bunk room, private mailboxes, showers, a business center, baggage holding area and two conference rooms.
Dubai International Airport now has not one but two purpose-built support facilities for business aviation, both located in the duty free zone on the other side of the runway from the airshow. The new Jet Aviation FBO has been operational since May, and will be formally opened at a ceremony here this evening. The new Bombardier/ExecuJet Aviation facility was inaugurated yesterday and began operations just this month.
JetDirect Aviation is planning a new national FBO chain, backed by Philadelphia private-equity firms CD Ventures and Argosy Capital. The company now has five FBOs and manages 60 airplanes, many on charter certificates. JetDirect plans to merge all the charter certificates into JetDirect’s certificate and place all the charter and management aircraft under its banner.
ExxonMobil’s Avitat FBO network has adopted Megadata’s Passur FBO software suite to help track and serve Avitat customers. The Passur Avitat Networking software suite was developed exclusively for the Avitat network. Avitat FBOs will be able to use the Passur system to track customer aircraft, view data on aircraft flying into their airports and look up information about the owners of tracked aircraft.
The strategy for large FBO chains backed by big private equity funds is to buy FBOs in wealthy destination markets, either major metropolitan areas with lots of business activity or high-end resort areas that are frequented by business jet travelers. Midsize markets don’t get as much attention, and that is fine with Greg Arnold, president and CEO of Truman Arnold Companies, which owns the 11-base TAC Air FBO chain.