The airline industry is served by many service companies, but Fixed Base Operators, or FBOs, are of particular importance to private and commercial airlines. In this post, we will talk in detail about FBOs and understand some of their services and roles in the current industry.
The essential services
As the name suggests, FBOs and aircraft handling services provide a fixed infrastructure and a variety of different facilities at an airport. These facilities can be really diverse, from managing terminals and passenger services to immigration, aircraft fueling and maintenance services. The range of services offered by these companies depends heavily on their size and location. In places like the Middle East, India and China, these services are still developing rapidly, while in Europe and North America FBOs are already taking on important roles at most airports.
Understand aircraft handling services
Some FBOs provide aircraft handling services, although such services may also be provided by third parties. A ground handler usually has a direct license from the airport to provide these services. This can include both overwing and underwing services (discussed further in this post). Airport handling services are vital as they provide help and assistance with ground support. Ground handlers must have comprehensive liability insurance and have appropriate safety training in the field. In most countries, they also require additional certifications from various authorities.
Upper and lower wing service
Above Wing services are all about assisting crew and passengers to and from the aircraft. This may include handling passengers at the airport, as well as other services such as transport to the aircraft, in-flight catering and managing hotel accommodation if required. FBOs also manage concierge services to meet the passenger needs of private aircraft users. On the other hand, “Below Wing” services include actual ground handling, including baggage handling, towing, and coordination with other parties for fueling, hangar, and other services. Many of the companies also offer additional essential services such as supplying specific equipment such as tugs, ground power units and other equipment.
Other important areas
If you are a private aircraft owner and need FBO services, you need to find a company that has extensive experience in this field. They need to know the extensive experience they have in providing FBO services as well as their current skills and capacity. It is important for FBO services to have a company that specializes in this field and has worked at major airports in America. You may also want to learn about their experience in the international arena, especially if you need to specifically plan international operations.
Over the years, the demand for FBOs has increased significantly, although roles can vary in different countries. These companies meet the technical requirements and other issues at large airports, streamlining work in a professional manner, both for flight crews and passengers. Some of the FBOs even work with airport sponsors and other parties to manage and deliver specific projects.