What is a Fixed Base Operator
Photo by Max Nayman
Originally Posted On: What is a Fixed Base Operator | Republic Jet Center
A fixed based operator is an important part of smooth flight operations. Here’s what you need to know about a What is a Fixed Base Operator.
There are over 14,000 private jets in operation throughout the USA. Yet, have you ever noticed that you never see passengers from private jets enter the usual airport facilities?
That’s because they skip the queues by reporting to an onsite fixed base operator instead. An FBO offers more than a place to check in your bags and hand in your ticket though.
Find out more about these mysterious airport conveniences, what they offer, and what you can expect if you ever fly by private jet.
What Is a Fixed Base Operator?
In the simplest of terms, a fixed base operator is a private jet terminal. It’s usually purpose-built, set apart from the crowds, and offers a range of luxury services for both the passengers and crew of private aircraft.
Some smaller airports may have a single lounge dedicated to this purpose. Airports that specialize in business aviation may have several FBOs on the premises. Large commercial airports usually have more than one FBO too.
Most fixed-base operator companies operate independently of their host airport.
Others choose to partner with larger consortiums like Signature Flight Support’s Signature Select Network. This enables them to offer their clients even more specialized services.
How Did Fixed Base Operators Come About?
Like many of the best inventions, FBOS came about out of necessity. During the 1920s, aircraft were relatively inexpensive thanks to a surplus of ex-military planes.
During this time, freelance pilots known as barnstormers would offer passenger flights or aerobatic displays to make money. They’d travel all over the country, often landing their planes anywhere they could find a flat piece of land.
These free-spirited entrepreneurs had no fixed base and would go wherever the wind blew them and the money was good.
In 1926, the US Air Commerce Act set up stringent new licensing conditions for pilots. They also set up a host of regulations regarding maintenance, and regulation of aircraft as well as training of pilots.
To meet these requirements, these fly-by-night pilots needed a home address, i.e. a fixed abode.
To combat this problem, pilots and mechanics set up registered businesses with fixed addresses. They called themselves Fixed Based Operations or Operators.
This also distinguished them from the transient barnstormers.
Until recently, the term FBO applied to an aircraft operator based at the airport, and this is still the case in some places. So, when a jet wanted to land at an airport away from home, they’d make arrangements with the airport’s FBO.
Usually, these arrangements involved little more than the logistics involved in landing an airplane and accommodating it overnight.
As more people discovered the joys of private jets, a need arose for third-party FBOs to manage all the extras that go with crew and customers. That’s where modern-day FBOs really stand out.
Services Offered by a Fixed Base Operator
The largest fixed base operators offer a range of conveniences for their clients and their crew. Your pilots and onboard personnel are assured of their best attention and assistance with anything they need.
Passenger Concierge Services
For many, this is the most important aspect of using an established FBO. The top operators will see to your every need from the moment your plane touches down.
You could enjoy more than a comfortable place to put your feet up after a long flight. Additional services include assistance in finding the best nearby hotels and restaurants.
They might even offer a chance to see the nearby sights in a chauffer-driven limo while you wait for the next leg of your journey.
Some concierge services also cater to those who’re traveling with their pets, so you know your best friend’s also getting the luxury treatment they deserve.
Full-service FBO concierge services exist solely to ensure you have everything you need during your layover. You only need to ask.
If you’re a frequent flyer you can sign up for loyalty programs and receive points for every visit. That means you’ll enjoy a host of extras every time your plane touches down.
These include priority-hangar privileges, zero handling charges, and other exclusive resources. You could also enjoy the benefits of a state-of-the-art online reservations system for all your needs.
When it’s time to leave, your aircraft’s ready and waiting, or you’ll only need to endure a short drive in a luxury vehicle before you board. Security and immigration checks as well as pre-flight clearance are all taken care of as seamlessly and unobtrusively as possible.
Leading FBOs provide a full range of services to take care of your private plane too. These include everything you need to keep your plane well-maintained and operating at its best, as well as deal with any unforeseen repairs.
These services go a long way towards protecting your asset and ensuring your peace of mind.
Some of the best ones can even assist you with aircraft sales assistance to help you sell your jet, or find the aircraft best suited to your needs.
The Best FBO in New York
Republic Jet Center is a fixed base operator located at Long Island’s Republic Airport. Our operations are FAA-approved and we’re proud members of the prestigious Signature Select Network.
Republic Airport offers easy access to New York as well as all of Long Island’s best attractions.
If you’re a private jet owner flying into New York any time soon, get in touch and we’ll take care of all your needs from landing to take-off.