The term “fixed base operator,” often referred to simply as FBO, refers to commercial businesses allowed to operate on airport grounds in order to provide services to the airport. In essence, they are private jet terminals typically located on the grounds of an airport.
The long list of services a FBO may provide include a wide range of areas, including:
- Fueling Services
- Tie-Down Services
- Hangar Services for Aircraft
- Flight Instruction
- Taxi Services
- Aircraft Rental
- Charter Services
- Aircraft Sales
- Mechanical Services
- Repair and Maintenance Services and Facilities
- Crop Dusting Base of Operations
- Towing Services
- Baggage Handling
- Pilot’s Lounges
- Conference Facilities
- Sightseeing Flights
- And more…
When operating with private jet charters, an efficient FBO will provide streamlined and hassle-free security screening, plane boarding and will deliver your baggage to and from the aircraft to your ground transportation vehicle.
Though not all FBO facilities are required to do so, most facilities offer restroom facilities, ground transportation arrangement, weather information areas, showers, aviation supplies, and concierge services for flight crews, pilots, and passengers.
In some cases they even provide in-flight catering services to aircraft. Most people refer to it as a full-service convenience station for aircraft.
While some may view the FBO as a new idea, it has a long history, dating back to World War I, well before a time when aviation was so heavily regulated as it is today. At that time, many small towns didn’t even have airports so pilots would come in, with their planes, landing in local fields and offering lessons, shows, and more in order to make the money necessary to enable them to keep flying.
They would move from small town to small town throughout the country doing this until 1926 when the Air Commerce Act was passed by the U.S. government. This law established rules for licensing pilots and aircraft maintenance. It also established regulations about where pilots could train.
This ended the transient nature of life for pilots and forced them to settle down. Many of them established businesses in small airports that were cropping up across the country. At the time, this term Fixed Base Operator was coined in order to distinguish these pilots who had settled down and established permanent operations from the transient pilots and operations the public had grown accustomed to seeing.
The Evolution of Fixed Base Operators
In days long past, jets that weren’t attached to a particular airport only needed to contact the FBO at the airport in order to make the necessary arrangements to land there. At the time, this transaction was not a commercial transaction.
Over time, though, the industry has evolved as have the needs and requirements for airports, upkeep, etc. Today, there are third party organizations that manage the facilities and deal with things like security, hangars, lounges, fuel, parking, and even concierge services and amenities.
FBOs have become wildly commercial in nature with large organizations operating FBOs in multiple airports around the country and worldwide. Some private jet passengers have developed a preference for one FBO organization over another and actively seek to plan their travel itineraries in order to land at specific facilities or stating a preference for one FBO when chartering private jets.
Presidential Aviation works with some of the best FBOs in the business. Book your private jet charter flight with Presidential Aviation today and see what a difference it makes when it comes to convenience, comfort, luxury, and accommodating your needs as a passenger and a professional.