What is an FBO - and what can you expect from it?

Like every industry, private aviation has its share of acronyms. FBOs, or Fixed Based Operators, form a very important function in the Business Aviation industry. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Fixed Based Operators and how they enhance your flight experience.

FBOs - unmatched comfort and safety before your departure

Unlike commercial flights that take off from the main airport terminal, private charter flights are serviced by dedicated facilities called FBOs.

Also known as private jet terminals, FBOs provide passengers with check in, security and immigration services that are in a league of their own. They also handle the logistics involved with private charter jet refuelling, take-offs and landings.

As with every aspect of flying private, the FBO experience is worlds apart from the crowds and the lines of a commercial airline check-in counter.

A five star experience from the moment you leave your vehicle

Arriving at your FBO is almost like checking in to a hotel with high standards of guest service. You’ll be greeted by attentive staff, shown to a waiting area with business lounge facilities, and checked in almost immediately.

In fact, some FBOs offer check in times so quick that you may not even have time to take a seat.

  • FBOs do away with the long waiting time and lack of comfort that commercial check-in and security checks usually involve.

  • With relatively few private aircraft taking off and landing at a given time, you’ll pass through immigration and security within minutes.

  • Once you’re ready to board, you’ll simply proceed through the main exit. If your aircraft is waiting directly outside the FBO terminal, you should be able to board immediately.

  • If your aircraft is parked some distance away, you’ll be chauffeur driven and your luggage taken care of by the FBO staff.

  • Some FBOs will also permit you to drive your vehicle right up to the jet itself, with a valet on hand to park your car in a secure location.

The sheer comfort and convenience of flying private is a major reason why business clients choose to charter a private jet. In keeping with this, FBO operators recognise the importance of seamless, high-calibre service from the moment their passengers arrive at the airport.

If you’re planning to book your first charter flight soon, the FBO experience is definitely something to look forward to.

Enhanced services for guests who arrive early at the airport

FBOs offer fast service for guests who arrive at the airport with little time to spare - but guests with an hour or more on their hands are well catered for as well.

Depending on the FBO facilities at your departure airport, you can look forward to some of these additional facilities and services.

  • Guest lounge facilities with a range of food and beverages on offer
  • Business centre facilities - including computers, meeting rooms, work pods and teleconferencing
  • Hotel rooms for guests with a long layover between flights
  • Pet grooming facilities for four-legged guests joining their owners on a private charter flight
  • Attentive ground staff who are on hand to take care of your every need
  • Valet and chauffeur services to and from your hotel and between the FBO and runway

Should you arrive at the airport with time to spare, an FBO is the ideal place to catch up on some work - or get some sleep.

You can expect the same level of premium service in the FBO facility that you’ll receive throughout your charter flight.

How long have FBOs existed at major airports?

FBOs are one of the less well-known facilities at any airport - but how long have they been a part of the private aviation industry? The answer may surprise you.

Fixed base operators were some of the first startups, with many of them dating back to the 1920s in America.

With the end of World War 1, a large number of affordable aircraft flooded the US market - and entrepreneurs were quick to see a gap. Before long, privately owned aircraft were being operated across America, but they had nowhere to land.

The number of private charter flights was increasing, and landing on roads, fields and farms was becoming impractical - not to mention dangerous.

To solve this challenge, another group of entrepreneurs started to set up fixed bases. Originally these were air strips with a small office to the side. Flights were scheduled and aircraft refuelled and serviced by these fixed base operators - and the rest is history.

FBOs today - what the future holds

Today’s luxurious FBOs are a far cry from the basic structures that sprung up almost 100 years ago. As the industry has evolved, FBOs have gone from small, owner-managed startups to consolidated businesses operating across continents.

  • Signature Flight Support is the current industry leader, operating more than 200 FBOs worldwide.

  • Newcomers to the market like Sky Valet, which serves high-end luxury travelers are making their presence felt and providing healthy competition.

The benefits of consolidating so many FBOs under one brand include high quality, reliable services across the board - irrespective of location.

As the private aviation industry continues to grow, FBOs will become an essential feature of every airport. With a competitive industry and discerning customers, the FBO experience is set to become even better in years to come.

Private charter passengers can look forward to ever-evolving FBO services and facilities that will make their journeys that much more enjoyable.

Experience the luxury of an FBO check-in when you fly private

When you book a private jet charter, you’ll experience luxury and efficiency from the moment you arrive at the terminal.

The enhanced facilities and customer service that FBOs provide will make your check in process quick and effortless - and let you enjoy your private charter or business jet to the fullest.

If you’d like to experience the unmatched comfort and ease of flying private, leave the details to us. Simply enter your flight dates on our booking page and we’ll compile your itinerary and quotation right away.