In every industry there exists corporations that help to keep the industry going. These organizations provide some of the amenities needed for the industry and ensure its long-term survival. In the food and beverage industry for example, you have companies that specialize in providing the recyclable tin cans and plastic wrappers that are essential to hygienic packaging. Similarly, in the Aviation industry you have corporations that offer aeronautical services that help to keep an airport going all year round.
These corporations are often referred to as Fixed Base Operators or simply called FBOs. FBOs are known to exist either within the premises of an airport or they may be stationed just around its vicinity. Wherever they may be situated, FBOs are known to be responsible for the provision of a number of premium services that ultimately make the airport a hub for every aeronautic activity that airlines, pilots and passengers can come to expect. This article tells you all you need to know about FBOS from who they are to what type of building structures they operate in.
Look around an airport and you are sure to find more than just one FBO. As mentioned earlier, FBO stands for Fixed Base Operators. These are privately owned or publicly held corporations that an airport has licensed or granted the right to carry out standardized and premium aeronautic services within the four walls of the airport or in very close proximity to it.
However, FBOs are primarily located within an airport and there may be more than a couple of FBOs within an airport at any given point in time. From a historical standpoint, the term Fixed Base Operators arose at about after the first World War. It was a time when ex-fighter pilots and servicemen ran mini-flight operations to earn a living after the war.
These ex-servicemen would reenact epic dogfights, carry out flight training and perform synchronized flying acts for a fee. Eventually, they would form what would turn out to be the first set of FBOs who would help perform a number of aeronautic services for private jet owners and corporate airlines.
Essentially in small villages and towns, the entire town would become an FBO, providing all manner of services from aircraft maintenance to hospitality and in effect providing a source of livelihood to the populace of the town.
Today FBOs have become a more structured and professional outfit. They provide a series of specialized aeronautic value added services in a safe and prompt manner. These days there are FBO chains which offer services in a number of airports spread across the U.S and abroad. FBOs keep to a strict standard of high performance as their very existence depends on it. All their aeronautic activities are built on trust which is something they tend not to compromise as the industry is a highly competitive and unforgivable one.
Fixed Base Operators tend to be found within the airport itself. The reason for their existence in an airport is simple. Depending on the service they provide, it only makes economic and business sense to operate in the vicinity of the airport.
FBOs providing aircraft maintenance services for example, would need to have a hangar where the aircraft can be housed for servicing and maintenance. By being located in the airport, it makes conveying the aircraft into the hangar a much easier task than if they were operating outside the airport. Besides the airline or private aircraft owner would be wary of trusting the maintenance of their airplane to an FBO located outside the airport as opposed to an FBO that is situated within the airport.
However, FBOs providing hospitality services like lodging and feeding could get away with being located just outside the airport. These FBOs could also provide transportation services to convey pilots, crew members and passengers to and from their service points. This way the pilots, crew members and passengers would get to the airport on time before their next flight for example.
Ultimately, the services offered by a FBO would usually determine their location. But most FBOs prefer being where the action is, which is the airport, especially in a medium to heavy traffic airport.
As stated earlier, Fixed Base Operators specialize in a number of aeronautic service delivery. FBOs carry out activities that will help meet the immediate needs of corporate airlines and private aircraft owners. Some of these needs include fueling, maintenance, lodging and feeding. FBOs are very versatile and tend to offer a wide range of services.
These exclusive aeronautic services are highlighted in no particular order below;
• Aviation fuel sale including the sale of turbine aircraft and piston aircraft fuel.
• A series of general aviation aircraft line services.
• Air charter and air taxi services.
• Emergency air support and scheduled air carrier services.
• Rental of aircraft.
• Tourism and sightseeing services.
• Sale of aircraft.
• Service and maintenance of aircraft.
• Aircraft tie-down as well as parking.
• Hangar leasing.
• Aircraft spare part sale.
• Concierge services.
• Sale of in-flight luxury and comfort items as well as navigation chart manuals and other aviation supply items.
• Flight simulation and pilot training services.
• A series of aerial operations including crop dusting.
• Aerial survey, photography and advertising operation.
The list of services that FBOs offer is inexhaustible and they also provide a number of rudimental auxiliary services as well. These services are primarily for airline pilots, the cabin crew, flight attendants and also passengers. Some of these services as highlighted before include the provision of lodging, feeding and convenience.
Fixed Base Operators also provide services such as; waiting areas for passengers in transit and also telecommunication facilities like WiFi access and phone call services.
In addition, FBOs may provide low cost or free transportation services to pilots, their cabin crew and flight attendants.
These “Courtesy Cars” as they are fondly called in the U.S enable flight crew members to take short trips right from the airport and into town. The vehicles may be driven by the cabin crew members or a designated driver provided by the FBO. Apart from this, some FBOs are known to provide other ground transport services like shuttle, taxi and even stretch limousine services.
FBOs also offer catering, restaurant and food vending services as well as providing facilities for meteorological information and flight planning activities. FBOs also assist with local handling and they also provide competitive on-ramp rates.
FBOs operating within the airport premises may either construct buildings on the approval of the airport or lease already constructed buildings to meet the purpose of the aeronautic services.
The type of buildings used by the FBOs would be completely dependent on the type of service specification they intend providing. However, there are some key buildings worth mentioning. These FBO buildings are important for several purposes and they include;
Building for transient and tie-down parking: FBOS that provide aircraft parking and storage services would require an all weather protective building and similar facilities that can be used for such services. Private aircraft owners and small corporate airlines would require such parking facilities for their aircraft and FBOs can be on-hand to provide this service.
Airplane T-hangars: Another building used by FBOs for the purpose of parking and storing aircrafts is the T-hangar. Maintenance and servicing can be done in such hangars and aircrafts can also be refueled and prepared for their next flight.
Aircraft Supplies Shop: FBOs would also fancy having an aircraft spare parts and other supplies shop. This shop can be an extension of a tie-down parking facility at the airport.
Passenger Waiting Area Facility: Passengers on transit would need a comfortable lounge where they can relax while waiting for a connecting flight. This is one other facility that FBOs tend to have at medium to high traffic airports. The passenger waiting area facility will be equipped with internet connection (WiFi access), a restaurant, lodging and adequate rest rooms.
General Facility: A general facility can be used by FBO for a number of reasons. It can serve as an administrative office, meeting room and also be used for the sale of in-flight items. In addition, this facility can be used for pilot training and flight school classes. It may also house virtual reality flight simulation equipment and other similar facilities for pilot training.
Other buildings that FBOs could require at an airport include an aviation fuel dump and aircraft refueling area. Those FBOs that provide sightseeing and aerial photography services could require a separate mini-hangar and repair shop for their small aircraft. This building could also double as a waiting room for those sightseers and tourists looking to book a flight and also to ratify their flight schedule.
FBOs that carter for emergency medical flights may require an exclusive facility that would serve as a hangar, maintenance/servicing and fueling area. This facility would also be connected to a dedicated runway that allows the emergency services aircraft to take off quickly and land without any interruptions.
This facility would also provide an emergency clinic to treat patients before they are either flown out or driven to more sophisticated hospitals in town. The layout of this facility would grant ambulances and EMT services ready access to the emergency service aircraft. The EMTs and ambulances would also be able to exit the airport in the quickest possible time in order to rapidly get the patient(s) to where they can get proper medical care.
It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and money building structures on sites. This is even more so, in the case of FBO facilities. Furthermore, building structures in airports are subject to a lot of painstaking lobbying, licensing and approval from airport authorities, regulatory, supervisory and standards organizations.
The time lag needed to get in situ buildings constructed and ready for use can also be detrimental to the business model and margins of FBOs. With the lack of proper facilities to carry out aircraft repair work for example, FBOs wishing to engage in such aeronautic services would find it hard to be granted approval by the relevant authorities.
The huge business, financial and economic costs makes it absolutely pertinent for FBOs to have their required building structures available in the shortest possible time period. This is where Rapidset Buildings comes in.
Rapidset Buildings is a company that designs, engineers, details and ships prefabricated steel buildings to FBO building sites in the shortest possible time. In addition to this, Rapidset Buildings will assemble the steel buildings on the building site saving the FBO the cost of hiring steel building construction experts.
Founded by three professionals in the prefabricated steel building industry, Rapidset Buildings is fully knowledgeable of the needs of FBOs in the 21st century. Rapidset Buildings specialise in prefabricated hangars, warehouse and industrial steel buildings. All prefabricated steel buildings can be customized to meet the specific needs and requirements of FBOs.
All the prefabricated steel buildings by Rapidset Buildings are of the highest possible quality. They all adhere to strict airport structural integrity and building standards. At the moment, Rapidset Buildings will ship prefabricated steel buildings to 36 locations spread across North America, Asia and the Middle East.
The key merits of the prefabricated steel buildings made by Rapidset Buildings is their precision, strength, speed of delivery, ease of assembly and cost saving benefits. These benefits are just ideal for FBOs wishing to avoid prolonged disruptions in their activities due to a lack of proper building structures at their airport of operation.