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.
Aviation International News » December 2006
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.
IAM Jet Centre’s second Caribbean FBO, at Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica, will open on December 15. IAM Jet Centre has its own airport entrance separate from the airline passenger entrance. The 4,500-sq-ft FBO terminal houses passenger and crew lounges, private meeting rooms and in-house customs and immigration processing as well as X-ray and electronic security screening equipment.
The Million Air FBO franchise has reached 35 bases, with the addition of nine new facilities in the past 12 months, one of which, in Paris, is the chain’s first European FBO. Million Air Paris at Le Bourget Airport brings luxury amenities to the European business aviation market, including a theater room, complimentary beverage/snack bar and a snooze room.
Million Air Salt Lake City held a grand opening in mid-October of its newly remodeled FBO, which includes an 8,000-sq-ft addition featuring a spacious lobby with vaulted ceilings and plenty of natural lighting. The pilots’ lounge has been expanded, and there are new private sleep rooms and showers.
Subscribers to Arinc Direct can plan fuel purchases using Arinc’s new “virtual fuel desk,” with fuel prices pre-negotiated by Arinc. The fuel desk allows users to check regional fuel prices at multiple airports and FBOs instead of comparing prices at one possible destination. Once the operator makes his selection, the fuel desk e-mails or faxes the fuel release to the destination FBO.
In mid-October the doors opened at Dulles Jet Center, the third FBO at Washington Dulles International Airport. Dulles Jet Center offers 160,000 sq ft of hangar space, a three-story, 25,000-sq-ft terminal/office building and 300,000 sq ft of ramp space. Nearby Signature Flight Support will provide fuel and other ground support services to Dulles Jet Center customers.
Business aviation, long a bastion from the sometimes unfathomable airline security rules, is now facing similar regulations in some European Union countries.
Clifford Development, a Toledo, Ohio start-up, has launched a program to re-engine Citation IIs with 3,000-pound-thrust Williams International FJ44-3 engines with fadec. The company has acquired a Citation II as a test aircraft and expects to obtain an STC within 12 months.