LABACE Convention News

Banyan Air Service Celebrates Four-decade Anniversary

 - August 12, 2019, 12:00 PM
Banyan Air Service's facility occupies 100 acres at Florida's Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. With more than 1 million sq ft of hangar space, a huge customer terminal, and an FAA Part 145 repair station, the location has proven a popular U.S. destination and entry point with operators throughout Central and South America.

Banyan Air Service has long been a fixture at LABACE, and the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company, which occupies 100 acres at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), is exhibiting once again this year. While Banyan, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, is one of the state’s dominant service providers as well as one of the top FBOs in the U.S., much of its business stems from foreign customers.

“About 40 percent of all of our traffic comes out of Central and South America,” said Paul Rose, Banyan’s vice president of technical sales, adding that Brazil has always been a key market, to the point that the company has Portuguese speakers on staff. “Most of our Latin customers have both homes and business interests here in South Florida.”

Through its four decades of experience, those customers have come to depend on Banyan not only for their aircraft handling but also for their maintenance needs. “We’ve built some strong relationships with operators in that region,” noted Rose. “We have a very loyal customer base and we really consider them family.”

Like many other MRO providers, Banyan is currently engaged in many ADS-B avionics upgrades ahead of the FAA’s Jan. 1, 2020 equipage mandate. All U.S.-based aircraft, as well as those planning to operate in U.S. airspace, are required to comply. With the deadline looming, the flow of installations on both domestic and foreign-registered aircraft is keeping the company’s three-shift FAA Part 145 repair station busy, according to Rose. At the show, Bruno DeSouza, the company’s MRO parts supervisor and Alejandro Gomez, a technical sales and support representative for Latin America, will be discussing its ADS-B slot availability with those operators who have yet to schedule the work, as well as its service capabilities for the Falcon 2000, Learjet 45, Learjet 60, Citation 525, Hawker 800XP, and Pilatus PC-12. 

Banyan is the exclusive HondaJet sales and service facility for the Southeastern U.S., and its MRO team recently completed its first Advanced Performance Modification Group (APMG) package installation on one of the light twinjets. It reduces takeoff field length by 443 feet, increases baggage capacity by 200 pounds, and boosts the mtow to 10,700 pounds. The package includes a horizontal stabilizer extension, removal of the vortex generators on the tail and winglets, elimination of the mid-aileron fences, and upgrades to the Garmin G3000 avionics software to enhance situational awareness and safety. 

Growth Plans

Banyan (Booth 5015) which has a 25,000-sq-ft, two-story terminal with one of the world's largest pilot shops and a rampside café, is home to approximately 450 turbine-powered aircraft, housed in more than one million square feet of hangar space. To meet the growing demand, it is continually adding to that total. The latest addition, identified by the company as the Northside Property, will consist of another 180,000 sq ft hangar complex and will make its debut in January 2020. The facility pumps more than 6 million gallons of fuel a year.

While its first expansion location was initially discussed several years ago, Banyan has just revived plans for its second FBO in Florida, to be built at Miami Opa-Locka Executive Airport. Rather than the sprawling aviation ecosystem it has established at FXE, this new facility, which will be the fourth FBO on the field once completed, will be more of a boutique location, according to Rose, but with the same level of service its larger and older sibling has become famous for.

With next year’s American football Super Bowl scheduled to be held in Miami on February 2, Banyan’s staff has already begun planning for what is traditionally an extraordinarily busy week for the host city’s FBOs.