Have you heard about the term ‘Fixed Base Operator (FBO)’ in the aviation industry? There are different types of operations at airports such as commercial passenger flights, cargo, charter, general aviation services, and more.

Fixed Base Operation is one of the important services established to offer various aviation services at an airport. Refueling, Parking, and Hangar space are significant aspects of FBO services.

Let’s explore the FBO service in detail.

What are Fixed-Base Operators? Do all airports have an FBO?

A Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) is a company that is allowed to provide aviation services including refueling, parking, aircraft, rental, maintenance, flight training, and more. The permission for FBOs is granted by the respective airport authority and the governing civil aviation authority.

Not all airports are served by an FBO service provider. The general aviation services offered by the Fixed-Base operators can be found in smaller public-use airports. For instance, the majority of FBOs in the United States are available at the public-use or private-use airports.

What are Fixed-Base operators?

To understand FBO easily, you can take the example of yourself owning a private jet. If you are an aircraft owner, you require regular aircraft services such as repair & maintenance, refueling, spare parts replacement, and more. In that case, you need to seek assistance from an FBO service provider.

Where does the term fixed base operator come from?

The term ‘Fixed-Base Operator’ originated in the United States, and became common in the international aviation industry. Pilots, Engineers, and Aircraft mechanics started permanent flying businesses in the U.S. following the passage of the Air Commerce Act. 

The new businesses were called ‘Fixed-Base Operators’. This term distinguished permanent businesses from temporary businesses.

What are the services provided by the FBOs?

aircraft refueling service by FBO aviatechchannel
What are Fixed-Base operators?

The aviation services provided by the Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs) vary according to the requirement, and approval from Civil Aviation Authority. Services can differ from company to company, and airport to airport.

However, the common services include the sale of aviation fuel, short-term/long-term aircraft parking, aircraft repair/maintenance, aircraft catering, passenger services, flight training, aircraft rental, sale of aircraft parts, aerial photography, sale of pilot supplies, air taxi, charter operations, aerial survey, line services for general aviation aircraft, and much more.

Besides, highly equipped FBOs also offer restaurant facilities, Flight Crew Lounge, Food Vending, Car rental, flight planning, weather information, Concierge services, CSR (Customer Service Representative), and In-flight catering.

Pentastar Aviation FBO in Waterford, Michigan (What are Fixed-Base operators?)

What are Fixed Base operations?

As discussed above, Fixed-Base operations are known as the general aviation services offered by the FBO company. Such services are especially found in small public use or private airports.

The majority of companies operating FBO businesses at airports are either private or publicly held companies. FBO services in some airports might be run by the local government, or sometimes by the airport authority.

To explore more about Fixed-Base operations, let’s take an example of one of the top Fixed-Base operators known as Skyservice. 

SkyService is one of the leaders in business aviation primarily based in Ontario, Canada. The company offers various aviation services including aircraft management, aircraft charter, fixed-base operations (FBO), aircraft maintenance, aircraft sales & acquisition, and more.

There are five FBOs operated by Skyservice at various airports in Canada. Likewise, Skyservice is available in four different airports in the United States also including Bend Municipal Airport (Oregon), Helena Regional Airport (Helena), Redmond Municipal Airport (Redmond), and King County International Airport (Seattle). 

skyservice fbo aviatechchannel
What are Fixed-Base operators?

Skyservice is located in King County-Boeing Field International Airport (KBFI) in Seattle which is among the busiest primary general aviation airports in the United States. The FBO services offered by the company at KBFI include a client lounge, complimentary refreshments, snacks, complimentary Wi-Fi, conference rooms, crew lounge, snooze rooms, crew transportation, flight center, pilot lounge, and ramp site auto access.

Likewise, the customer services offered by Skyservice are aircraft detailing, Aircraft Fuel & Ground Support, Anti-Icing, Auto Detailing, Concierge, Customs Clearance, Escorted Ramp Access, Gourmet Catering, Hangar & On-Ramp Parking, Hotel Accommodations, Car Rentals, Shuttle Services, and Valet Parking.

How many FBOs are there in the United States?

Fixed-base Operator (FBO) business is popular in the United States as it originated from the U.S. Not only in the U.S., the FBO business is slowly getting momentum in Canada, Europe, and some Asian countries including Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and China. 

Particularly talking about the FBO industry in the United States, more than 5,000 FBOs are available in 3,000+ locations at airports across the country.

List of Fixed Base Operators in the United States

There are 5,000+ FBO companies located at various airports in the United States. Recently, the survey conducted by the Professional Pilot Magazine’s Preferences Regarding Aviation Services and Equipment (PRASE) listed five best FBOs in the U.S. among the list of 23 best FBOs.

The list of the top five FBOs are mentioned in the table below.

Texas JetFort Worth Meacham International Airport (KFTW)
TAC AirCentennial Airport (KAPA)
Business Jet CenterDallas Love Field (KDAL)
Jet AviationPalm Beach International Airport (KPBI)
Fontainebleau Aviation Miami–Opa Locka Executive (KOPF)

Some other popular FBO companies in the U.S.

Pentastar AviationKPTK
American AeroKFTW
Henriksen Jet CenterKEDC
Western AircraftKBOI
Fargo Jet CenterKFAR
Global SelectKSGR
Hawthorne Global Aviation ServicesKPWK
Modern Aviation KAPA
Del Monte AviationKMRY
McKinney Air CenterKTKI
Banyan Air ServiceKFXE
Million AirKSUS
Jet Center Los AngelesKHHR
Redbird SkyportKHYI
Hill AircraftKFTY
AirCare Inc. KRWI
Sun Valley AviationKHRL
Global SelectKSGR
Wilson Air CenterKHOU
Aero-One AviationKDHN
National JetsKFLL
APP Jet CenterKHEF
Atlantic Aviation KSNA
Denver Jet CenterKAPA
FlightLines FirstKNEW
Royal AirKPTK

Conclusion on What are Fixed-Base Operators

To conclude ‘What are Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs)?’, FBO simply means the general aviation services such as aircraft parking, maintenance, rental, charter flight, refueling, passenger services, flight crew amenities, and much more offered by private, public companies or sometimes the local government/airport authority.

The practice of FBO businesses originated in the United States and is widely available in the country. Besides, it is getting popular in other countries in Europe, and the Asian continent.

FAQs on Fixed-base Operators

What does a Fixed Base operator do?

A Fixed-Base Operator provides general aviation services such as refueling, parking, aircraft, rental, maintenance, flight training, customer services, and much more.

Why is it called a Fixed Base Operator?

The term ‘Fixed-Base Operator’ originated in the United States when pilots, engineers, and mechanics started permanent aviation services businesses following the Air Commerce Act. The name is popular in the international aviation industry.

What does FBO stand for at an airport?

FBO stands for Fixed-Base Operator at an airport. FBO companies offer general aviation services at the operating airport.

Do all airports have an FBO?

All airports are not equipped with an FBO as you will find FBO companies in small private, public-use, municipal, or regional airports.

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Suman Karki
Suman Karki is the founder of the AviaTech Channel blog and YouTube Channel. He is a passionate aviation enthusiast and holds experience working as a Ground Operations Officer for Swissport International. He is currently serving as a Flight Data Feeder for FlightAware (a US-based company for Flight Tracking). Besides, he has worked as an aviation content editor for various aviation media.


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