June 22, 2021

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing an FBO

These are the top five reasons customers—including flight staff, front- and back-of-house workers, and passengers—choose a fixed-base operator (FBO) for a private flight experience. If you have an FBO, taking these five factors into consideration will help you make your FBO a destination. 

1. Customer Service: 88% of customers choose an FBO for this reason

Something that can make your FBO attract and retain customers is to provide best-in-class hospitality. If you make customer service your top priority, you’ll set a standard and show your customers that you care about them and their future business. 

Here are a few ways to make your customer service experience shine:

  • Provide a 24/7 help line. Traveling can be unpredictable, so having a 24/7 help line or dedicated on-location support staff improves your customer service ratings. 
  • Focus on building customer relationships. Customer service also includes building customer relationships. You’ll need dedicated space in your FBO to accommodate the relationship between your FBO staff and customers. This can start with an inviting and improved lobby with a check-in area or client relations desk.
  • Update or add a client relations desk or check-in area. If you don’t have a client relations desk or check-in area, you’ll need to update your space. This space is crucial to providing exceptional customer service. Having a dedicated member of your FBO team man the client relations desk during operating hours ensures there is always someone there in person to help customers. 
  • Update your amenities to make customers feel at home. Customer service also includes the types of amenities like providing comfortable furniture, a conference center, cafe area, and public and private toilet rooms. More on amenities below!

2. Fuel Pricing: 63% of customers choose an FBO for this reason

Pricing fuel at an FBO is extremely important for pilots when choosing a FBO. Fuel pricing has to be competitive for private jet businesses to select an FBO to use as their base.

Fuel stations are one of the most important amenities for the pilots because they need to refuel their aircraft in between flights. 

According to Republic Jet Setter, FBOs can offer deals and rebates that make their FBO an attractive pick. For example, if pilots “Pay a little more for higher-quality fuel, this is often subsidized with additional services.”

FBOs can also offer rebates, waivers, or loyalty programs depending on the amount of fuel you purchase. 

Our client Atlantic Aviation has FBOs around the country. Recently, their Aspen, CO FBO announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

In a press release, the SVP announced

“The regular availability of SAF at ASE represents the next step in our commitment to renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions by the aviation industry,’’ said Jay Hamby, senior vice president of Atlantic Aviation. ‘’The integration of SAF into our operations at ASE is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 800,000 pounds annually.”

3. Passenger Amenities: 40% of customers choose an FBO for this reason

How can you design an accommodating FBO that encourages customers to use the space to its fullest potential? Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Update—or add—a conference center. Many times, travelers and staff of an FBO will need to take meetings in between flights. Providing a private space for client or status meetings helps.
  • Update your furniture. Adding beautiful lounge furniture that’s both comfortable and practical is a great way to provide exceptional customer service. Designing with couches and chairs that have built-in technology helps guests charge up their personal devices and also feel comfortable while they wait for their flight. 
  • Show off the tarmac. Adding floor-to-ceiling windows with a great view of the tarmac gives customers something exciting to look at to pass the time. Be sure to add comfortable seating in this area to provide comfort with the view. 
  • Add free snacks and beverages to your cafe. Providing coffee, beverages, and snacks goes a long way with traveling customers. Ensuring that your snacks and beverages are easy to grab and go also respects their timelines and potentially tight schedules. 

4. Cleanliness: 31% of customers choose an FBO for this reason

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but cleanliness is extremely important to customers visiting an FBO. First, FBOs attract prestigious customers such as executives, celebrities, and wealthy travelers who prefer the private experience of an FBO when compared to a large public airport. And so, the cleanliness must also be pristine. 

If your FBO is outdated, it won’t come across as clean as a newly renovated space. Our client Atlantic Aviation, chose to update their dated FBO with durable materials that will outlast weary travelers. Formcraft used quality porcelain flooring to accomplish this. The flooring not only looks great but it’s also durable for high wearability and use by staff coming on and off the tarmac in all kinds of weather.  

5. Pilot Amenities: 25% of customers choose an FBO for this reason

The fifth reason why customers choose an FBO is for the pilot amenities. The pilots are just as much customers to an FBO as their passengers, so it’s important to have separate spaces for the private jet pilots to unwind.

The top pilot amenities are the pilot lounge, snooze room, and shower area with a private bathroom. These three spaces give the pilot everything he / she needs to refresh, socialize, and get much needed downtime. 

Case Study: How Formcraft Made Atlantic Aviation a Top Destination

Atlantic Aviation is a premier private aviation service with locations across the United States. They turned to Formcraft because their Philadelphia terminal was dated and did not meet Atlantic’s brand and quality standards—nor reflect the values of their customers.

Atlantic Aviation came to Formcraft with four specific goals in mind:

  1. Create a Customer Experience of the Highest Standard
  2. Modernize the Aesthetics and Technology of the Space
  3. Incorporate Local / Regional Design Elements
  4. Design for Durability.

Read how Formcraft delivered solutions for each of these goals. 

Are you ready to make your FBO a destination? Get in touch with us!

All data sourced from AVIATION INTERNATIONAL NEWS, 2015.