Ground support group Euro Jet Intercontinental (Booth 129) celebrated its fifth anniversary at the EBACE show last year and the past 12 months have seen it stepping up its expansion with new facilities in the east of Europe to respond to rising levels of traffic. Here at this year’s event, the Czech Republic-based group is launching a new smartphone application to allow its staff to provide real-time reporting to customers.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs » FBOs
New developments at FBOs including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, acquisitions and mergers.
The problem with most aircraft towbars and tugs is that the operator can’t see what’s happening with the wingtips and tail, so extra personnel are always needed when moving an aircraft into a tight spot. Krefeld, Germany-based Mototok International (Booth 5539) has solved this by using a wireless remote-controlled tug system for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, which can be operated by one person standing at any spot while moving the aircraft.
Universal Aviation last month inaugurated its newly refurbished FBO at Paris Le Bourget Airport. The extensive program of improvements includes fully remodeled crew and passenger lounges, business center, meeting rooms and private screening areas. Ramp space has also been increased with the addition of 130,182 sq ft (12,094 sq m) of parking space, taking the total area to 323,000 sq ft (30,000 sq m).
The FBO situation at New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN) remains unresolved as Million Air vies with Signature Flight Support for the purchase of the Million Air Westchester franchisee location on the field, and the FBOs and the county wrangle over tax-exempt status.
While the North American business aviation market has shown signs of recovery of late, for many other parts of the world fortunes have continued to fluctuate, making for a mixed outlook for the global FBO industry. Emerging bizav markets across regions such as Asia and Africa have seen encouraging traffic growth, even if opportunities to expand FBO services in these places have been somewhat limited. Meanwhile, service providers in Europe’s more mature market have yet to see sustained recovery from flight activity dips in recent years, but there are some notable exceptions.
Jetex Flight Support (Booth H706) has set up a new handling facility at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines. The Dubai-based group will provide a full range of support services for private jet operators in Manila, as well as being able to supervise ground handling at other Filipino airports.
Deer Jet, which owns four of the six FBOs currently in operation on the Chinese mainland, expects to at least double that number by the end of this year, according to Peng Zhang, company vice president.
“We are talking with several different airport authorities [who] want to cooperate with Deer Jet (Booth P424) to have an FBO facility on their field,” Zhang told AIN. This includes Beijing Capital Airport, where the company is awaiting permission to begin operations from a facility that was last used for the 2008 Olympics and would be the second FBO on the airport.
Korea Airport Corp. (KAC) recently announced a deal with Avjet to build and manage an FBO at Seoul’s Gimpo Airport, close to the city center, with the aim of making it the country’s main business aviation hub. The main airport, Incheon, is some 30 miles from the city center.
U.S. aviation services provider Castle & Cooke has been an ABACE exhibitor since 2012, explaining the role of a fixed-base operator (FBO) to show attendees who might not be familiar with the fueling and ground-handling services such a company provides to private aviation. As the company returns to the Shanghai show for the third time, it is providing a translator (Booth H431) to more fully answer attendee questions.
An independent study commissioned by New York’s Dutchess County recommends the county privatize its airport, the third busiest general aviation facility in the state in terms of operations and based aircraft. The airport, which has a 5,000-foot main runway, is owned and subsidized by the county.