FBO (Fixed Based Operator) is the primary provider of flight support services to General Aviation, including Business and Corporate aviation. In Canada, Europe, and the US, business aviation takes the FBO for granted. They always find one or more FBOs when landing in an international or regional airport. In many of these airports, special General Aviation or Executive Terminals are available for business aviation operation. But the situation is different in other parts of the world.Send Inquiry
For many years business aircraft operators who landed in airports with no FBO suffered from shortcomings in the service and responsiveness of the ground handler. Many of these were governmentally owned and operated, resulting in delays, in addition to missing suitable ground support equipment and qualified personnel.
As a solution, the major international trip planning providers appointed local privately-owned flight support companies, which hired supervisors in these airports to bridge the gap in service. These local supervisors normally provide the following services:
Coordination between all the parties in the airport to ensure the harmonized provision of service for the smooth operation and on-time departure of the aircraft. Airlines and commercial operators usually hire station managers and airport services staff for this, but it is not possible for business and corporate aviation due to their mission, size and unscheduled nature. Hence, assigning a private local supervisor to perform the station manager tasks becomes essential.Cash- Inconvenient
Meeting the passengers and crew, to assist them to pass through the airport’s customs, immigration and security formalities, especially for airports that do not contain general aviation terminals or special facilities for business aviation operations. Business aviation passengers must share the common facilities that all the passengers use. Also, many of the workers at these airports can only speak their local language. Therefore, the role of the local English-speaking supervisor is crucial to communicate with the passengers and the crew and to coordinate with the local staff and government officials in their local language.
Help passengers and crew with the arrangement of the land-side services, which are outside the scope of services that the ordinary ground handling companies provide, such as arranging transportation, hotel accommodation, or catering from hotels (at airports where no specialized catering company is available).
With the non-acceptance of credit cards and the regulatory requirements to pay many services in cash before the aircraft departs, the local supervisor arranges for the payment of all the services in local or foreign currency (according to the country’s regulations). They then aggregate all the invoices and send the international trip planning provider a single invoice including all the amount settled to all the parties.
Ensuring all the flight plans are filed with the ATC, checking routes validity, and making sure that weather, NOTAMS, and all the crew briefings are delivered to the flight crew.
With the limit on the ground service equipment (GSE) available, normal ground handlers with no station manager representing the interests of the operator, tend to give more attention to the scheduled commercial operation.
The local supervisor ensures that the business aircraft gets the attention and service the operator is looking for.
It is true that the appointment of a local supervisor might add an additional expense to the total cost of the flight. However, the time gained, the efficiency achieved, and the anticipated problems solved as a result of having a local supervisor are significantly higher than the additional cost. Additionally, sometimes this extra cost is offset with the discount that the trip planning provider gain due to the volume purchasing they may have with the handler.
Local supervisors cannot compete with the services available at an FBO. However, their presence at airports with no FBO can compensate for the inappropriate level of service resulting from the ground handling culture that favors commercial schedule operations, as they can completely change the passenger and crew experience to be very friendly, smooth, and hassle-free.
When assisted by local supervisors, the passengers and crew of many flights operated into some of worst airports of the world provided feedback that the services they received matched if not exceeded in some cases the services provided by the best FBOs in the world.