Dick Dodson, president of Signature Flight Support, which owns and operates the largest chain of FBOs in the U.S., with 33 locations from Anchorage to New York, said today's corporate flight departments are making significant investments in new aircraft "and they want an extension of that level of service and efficiency at the FBO."
The menu of services now required from the FBO
includes a conference room, private office space and the telecommunications hookups necessary for computer modems, he
"More of the pilots are carrying laptops," Dodson
said.Added corporate flight department responsibilities placed on the flight crew while away from home means "pilots are more than just a silk scarf these days," Dodson
In a recent renovation at Signature's Washington National Airport location, for instance, several small private offices-outfitted with data ports for modems-were situated in the main lounge, a recognition that the old phone booth has also entered a new era.
At Boeing Field in Seattle, FBO operator Flight Center recently added a four-star, inflight catering operation with an on-site executive chef as a key aspect of an overall renovation of the facility.
"It goes back to a distribution of costs to those who use the facility," Dodson
At AMR Combs, however, the company has not adopted a handling charge for non-fuel-buying customers.
agrees with this assessment.As long-range corporate aircraft are introduced in U.S. fleets, the demand for the type of service available at domestic FBOs
will develop at overseas locations, he
predicted."When they arrive at a foreign destination, they want to be served by the same quality FBO they had in the U.S. so we see definite opportunities there," he
Once the consolidation phase in the FBO business subsides, one trend that is expected to develop is the need for investment in new facilities.