EBACE Convention News

Jet Aviation Touts FBO Network Growth

 - May 23, 2019, 2:40 AM
Jet Aviation Riyadh

Full-service business aviation provider Jet Aviation (Booth A18) is highlighting at EBACE 2019 the expansion and improvement of its global FBO network—now numbering 35 locations—and announced an agreement with Wijet to provide the Paris-based operator with handling services for its fleet. The expansion binge is underscored by recent groundbreaking for a new facility at Jet Aviation’s West Palm Beach, Florida facility in the U.S. It is just one of seven of its dozen locations in the U.S. and Caribbean region that are now under construction or renovation, or soon will be.

“Our acquisitions and facility expansions throughout our FBO network demonstrate our commitment to delivering industry-leading services exactly where our customers need them,” said David Paddock, incoming (July 1) president of the Switzerland-based firm. “With [parent company and Gulfstream Aerospace owner] General Dynamic’s support, we are moving strategically and purposefully toward our top priority of exceeding customers’ expectations across our full range of business aviation services.”

The expansion began last year, with significant growth in its EMEA and APAC operations. In May 2018 Jet Aviation acquired Hawker Pacific’s Asia and Australia FBO chain. That was followed in September by establishing ground handling services at Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdul Mohsin Bin Abdulaziz Regional Airport in Yanbu and October’s acquisition of KLM Jet Center businesses in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Action in the Middle East continued this year with announced plans to open a newly refurbished FBO facility by year-end—in space formerly occupied by DHL—at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport.

The planned two-story, 600-sq-m (6,458-sq ft) facility will include a reception area, three VIP lounges, and a meeting room. The upper floor will have a crew lounge and office space. With the expected traffic growth at Riyadh, the Kingdom’s capital and business hub, “the additional space is necessary,” said Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia general manager Khaled Al-Ghamdi, noting that this year marks the 40th anniversary of Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia. A joint venture formed with local partners, it was the first company to establish an FBO in the Kingdom—at Jeddah.

Earlier this month, the company announced its acquisition of a stake in Arizona’s Scottsdale Jet Center and plans to build and operate a branded FBO and a 2,787-sq-m (30,000-sq-ft) tenant hangar at the location, slated for a late 2020 opening. Jet Aviation plans additional site development following the new FBO’s opening this year, to keep pace with anticipated customer growth.

Other FBO locations seeing upgrades in the U.S./Caribbean region include a new FBO and hangar complex nearing completion in Van Nuys, California; significant FBO renovations planned for Teterboro, New Jersey; and Dallas, Texas; and hangar expansions in Teterboro, Houston, Texas, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This week at EBACE, Jet Aviation announced the signing of a preferred handling services agreement with Wijet to provide support through its nine European FBOs, all but the recently acquired Amsterdam and Rotterdam facilities being IS-BAH Stage 2 certified. “Our goal is to exceed customer expectations by providing seamless services to ensure the comfort and safety of aircraft owners and operators when and where needed,” said Oliver Bergsch, v-p of sales management in EMEA & APAC. Jet Aviation’s European FBO locations include Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland; Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and two in Berlin.

For its part, Wijet has “an aggressive plan to grow our fleet and wanted a reliable partner,” according to Wijet CEO Jean-François Hochenauer. The company operates three HondaJets, with 13 more on order, and expects to have 16 business jets under management in the near future. Formerly UK-based, Wijet moved its operations to Paris last year.

Founded in 1967, Jet Aviation has more than 4,800 employees at almost 50 global locations, offering charter, management, maintenance, completions and refurbishment, and engineering, in addition to FBO services.