Texas-based flight training provider Anson Air has broken ground on a new 24,000-sq-ft FBO facility at Sugar Land Regional Airport in Houston that will cater mainly to the region’s piston aircraft community. The $3 million office and hangar facility, expected to open next spring, will have its own avgas fueling operation. The corporate jet segment at the airport is served by the city-owned FBO, Global Select.
Aircraft ground handling
Dialog over the propriety of competition from airport-sponsored FBOs ratcheted up when several members of Congress submitted a letter to acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta expressing their concern about the use of federal funding provided by the agency for airport development.
When it comes to the careful handling of millions of dollars worth of aircraft at LABACE 2012 at São Paulo (Brazil) Congonhas Airport, Swissport was the pick to position 75 aircraft on the static display ramp yesterday and today with nary a ding.
Global ground services provider Swissport is seeking to acquire rival Flightcare’s divisions in Spain and Belgium. The purchase of Flightcare Spain would add Barcelona, Malaga, Fuerteventura, Valencia, Alicante, Jerez and Almeria to the company’s ground handling network. Through the purchase of Flightcare Belgium, Swissport would be able to add ground handling capability at Brussels Airport.
Aviation services provider The Private Jet Company expects to complete its new business aviation center at Isle of Man Airport this summer. The modern facility–separate from the airport’s main terminal–will include amenities such as an executive lounge, conference room, crew lounge with quiet rooms and shower, ramp transfer for passenger cars, pre-cleared immigration for passengers and crew and onsite security screening. In terms of ground handling, it will offer fueling via Shell, de-icing, lavatory and water servicing, oxygen and nitrogen service, and aircraft cleaning.
How could sending your dirty plates to the fixed base operation (FBO) after a flight to have them washed in a dishwasher be lethal? All too easily, according to catering safety expert Paula Kraft, principal of Atlanta, Georgia-based Aviation Catering Consultants. If the ground handler services the lavatory, then takes his gloves off and brings your clean crockery back to the aircraft, he may, for example, unwittingly contaminate the fresh dishes with invisible fecal particles. Kraft spoke at EBACE on Wednesday May 16 on how to avoid such catastrophes.
Czech ground handling support provider Euro Jet Intercontinental is expanding its operations into Western Europe as part of a new global expansion plan. The company recently appointed Gareth Danker as its new director of global sales and marketing; it also named Matej Gunda head of its Western European operations. Gunda will operate from a new office in Brussels.
Los Angeles-based private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners finalized its acquisition of ground support equipment manufacturer Tronair yesterday. The Holland, Ohio-based company makes more than 1,000 products–including towbars, electric tugs, tripod jacks, de-icer carts, lavatory servicing equipment, potable water carts and engine inlet covers–for more than 300 business aircraft, military aircraft and airliners.
For the FBO industry, just how good a year 2012 will be depends solely upon how much flight activity there is in the corporate and private aviation sectors. After all, parked aircraft do not use fuel nor require the services of FBO staff.
Southwest Airlines says it will be the first major airline to widely use a wireless, ground-support communications system to improve safety and operational efficiency during pushback operations. The airline plans to deploy the Flightcom pushback system for commercial aviation at 425 gates at 73 airports in the U.S. by the first quarter of 2012.