04 Mar FBO – What does it mean?
If you are new to private jet services you might wonder what the acronym “FBO” means. Even those who have flown chartered jets might still have questions regarding what it actually stands for.
Wonder no longer. In this article, we’ll cover everything from what “FBO” means to where it came from, what to expect from an FBO experience and more.
Let’s dive right in…
What is a FBO?
FBO stands for “Fixed Base Operator”, and is a term commonly used to refer to private jet services available through airports. Fixed Base Operators are enterprises that have been granted the right by an airport authority to operate their business and to provide aviation services including but not limited to fuel, hangar space, parking, and private flights to what is known as the “General Aviation” (GA) community.
FBOs may be offered or available in a number modalities or setups including:
- As part of a general airport terminal
- As a facility built solely to serve private jet travel
- As a VIP “lounge” or area within a general airport terminal
How Do I Find the FBO?
When booking a private jet charter flight you will be provided with the address of the airport where the FBO is located. Generally, small airports only have a single FBO, making finding yours a breeze. However, larger airports may support several FBOs, allowing you the opportunity to choose between the available competition. Selection of your FBO will be made during the booking of your flight.
What is the FBO Experience Like?
If you have never had the pleasure of flying via an FBO, then you may be interested in learning what you can expect from the experience. In contrast to commercial public flights, private jet charters are highly service-oriented, catering to your every need and ensuring you have the best possible experience.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by friendly reception staff who will make sure you have all of your questions answered and who will attend to any needs or concerns you may have at the time. You will also meet the captain of your flight at this point.
As compared to commercial flights, the process of moving from reception to boarding is much more streamlined, and as a private jet customer you will generally move much faster through the FBO onto your flight.
Accommodations and Features of Many FBOs Include:
- Free Access to Wi-Fi
- Bathroom Facilities (private and separate from the rest of the airport)
- Light Refreshments
- Luxury Concierge Service
- Conference Rooms/Areas
- And more…
Other Services Sometimes Offered By FBOs Include:
- Sale of jet fuel
- Short & long-term parking
- Aircraft and facilities cleaning and maintenance
- Customs services
- Food catering on-flight
- Restaurant or vending machine services
- In-flight passenger support services
- Car rentals
- Aircraft rentals
- And more…
Do I Still Need to Go Through Security at an FBO?
No matter the size of the FBO, or amenities provided, security will always be a part of your travel. The major difference is that, when flying domestically, the pilot and ground crew use their training and judgement as opposed to passengers going through a tedious and invasive TSA line. This ensures the safety of both yourself and others.
However, when traveling internationally, each passenger must go through the customs process. FBOs and private jet charter services can help you expedite this process with quick, efficient and unobtrusive immigration and security checks in addition to pre-clearance. One of the primary goals of an FBO is to ensure your experience is seamless and stress-free.
There is, however, no TSA lines or checks that passengers must go through while traveling domestically.
FBO Is a Strange Term – where did it come from?
For those of you who are history buffs, you might be wondering who the heck came up with this strange acronym and name. The term fixed-base operator (FBO) hails from the 1920s, during the era of largely unregulated civil aviation across the United States.
During this post-war period, aircrafts were easy to come by and quite affordable. This surplus of both planes and pilots after the war created an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to offer passenger flights and aerobatic shows at events.
Given the transient nature of the business (with no singular point of operation), the business had no “fixed” location. Fast forward to 1926, and what is known now as the US Air Commerce Act was put into law. This Act put in place and enforced a number of regulatory requirements for pilots, aircraft maintenance, training and more. As part of compliance, pilots and service providers began to establish registered businesses listing a primary “fixed address” from which they operated.
And that is how the term “Fixed Base Operator” came into being.