With 2020 behind us, how would you describe your experience using business aviation services last year, such as FBOs, fuel, and MROs?
Having flown throughout North and South America, I must say that services in the US have been very good, given the circumstances. Also, aviation services experienced in Central America have been good, while those provided in South America have been average.
Paulo Victor Da Silveira
ATP. Hawker 800A & Citation I
Conserva de Estradas
Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil
In my opinion, 2020 was a slow year. I wasn’t able to fly much. Needless to say, the level of quality of services received was the usual.
ATP. Falcon 2000 EASy
Apple Valley MN
We continue to receive excellent service, even as some FBOs have reduced workforce during this pandemic. Some areas still have high prices, and some have even increased the handling charges. However, line techs and customer service reps are glad to see us and appreciate that some business aircraft are still flying. Technical assistance has not declined, but we’ve made good use of the downtime to perform several modifications to our aircraft.
ATP/A&P. Falcon 2000EX EASy
Dir of Aviation
Dealing with different business aviation services, I noticed that people were very helpful in all aspects of service. They were always ready to assist with any needs, despite fearing the spread of the coronavirus. And they always made sure that customers didn’t have the virus.
ATP. Gulfstream V
MROs and FBOs with good reputations, such as West Star and Million Air, have continued to be more responsive to the needs of our flight department. Our experience with OEMs has been mixed.
ATP/CFII. Global Express XRS & Citation V
Apogee Physicians/Cherokee Aviation
I think that FBOs have gone the extra mile in this very difficult year to help us keep flying in full health and safety. Hats off to them!
Comm-Multi-Inst. Citation CJ1
My experience using business aviation services has been very positive. Wilson Air Center CLT (Charlotte Douglas NC), Oracle Aviation MLE (Millard, Omaha NE), Contour Aviation JWN (John C Tune, Nashville TN), and V1 Aviation CKB (Clarksburg WV) have provided great services at reasonable prices. Wilson Air Center staff are some of the best in the FBO business. Thanks to Signature Flight Support for backing Angel Flights and AirCare networks operations. They gladly waived handling and parking fees, and offered fuel discounts for humanitarian flying.
ATP/CFII. Pilatus PC-12
Generally, all services provided for business aviation operators during 2020 were satisfactory. However, some FBOs just excel at what they do, and their services go beyond expectations.
ATP. Gulfstream G650ER
Gold Star Aviation
We rarely use FBOs. However, when I’ve used Signature SFO (Intl, San Francisco CA) and SJC (Intl, San Jose CA), they have been outstanding. We use JetWest as our bulk fuel supplier at our home base, SNS (Salinas CA), and I must say their services are exceptional.
ATP/Helo. Airbus EC135P2+/EC135P3
CALSTAR/REACH Air Medical Svcs
Like most, our flying decreased for a brief period of time, and we are not doing business as usual yet. FBO service, however, has been exceptional so far and my guess is that they’re hungry for business. We used a local facility for maintenance services, and they’ve been excellent also.
ATP. Learjet 60 & King Air B350
Publix Super Markets
Port City Air at PSM (Portsmouth NH) is the FBO that I use. They have been very responsive to all my fuel and other operational needs. We’ve received very good support all year long.
Comm-Multi-Inst/CFII. Pilatus PC-24
Owner & Pilot
Live Free and Fly
I think 2020 was a weird year, to say the least. I found it interesting that, when we went back to flying, the FBOs seemed happier and trying harder to get what little business was out there. It was nice to be appreciated and see FBOs competing for my business. Customer service is back, and hopefully here to stay!
ATP. Gulfstream G450
Dir of Aviation
FBOs seem to take the Covid-19 pandemic in stride, and, in fact, they have been even more professional than usual. During 2020, they seemed to adapt to required procedures much faster than any other businesses.
ATP. Falcon 2000EX
Dir of Flight Ops
Most FBOs we visited last year were very diligent in ensuring their facility maintained a high level of sanitization. Line personnel and CSRs wore masks and exercised social distancing. Both requirements were also enforced by the FBO staff. Otherwise, it’s been business as usual.
ATP/CFII. Gulfstream IV/G550 & Learjet 60
Dir of Ops & Chief Pilot
Weidner Property Management
FlightLevel Aviation at OWD (Norwood MA) is our preferred FBO. I must say that the employees are very professional and always go out of their way to assist you.
ATP/Helo/CFII. Airbus AS350B2
Angel City Air
My experience with FBOs, fuelers, and MROs has been very good. We keep our physical distance when visiting these centers. Service quality has been good at both FBOs and MROs. We were able to fly more in 2020 than we had during the previous 4 years.
Comm-Multi-Inst/CFI/A&P. Pilatus PC-12/47E
Pure Air Ventures
I’m an air ambulance pilot, and many FBOs have treated medevac airplanes quite poorly this year. We’ve been refused parking, fueling, and sometimes any services at all. Some even refused to allow me entry into the FBO. Don’t they realize that we medevacs are the ones who will save their lives?
ATP/CFII/A&P. Pilatus PC-12
We spent the first half of the year avoiding unnecessary landings at a few locations, and tried to carry enough fuel to return to our base. Once we started landing at refuel and overnight locations, we found that FBOs instituted the usual Covid-19 restrictions and cleaning protocols. This pretty much resulted in normal operations for the rest of the year.
ATP/Helo. King Air 300
Airspace Systems Inspection Pilot
Battle Creek MI
FBOs, MROs, and fuelers that I’ve dealt with have all done a spectacular job under present circumstances. I let them know I noticed and I appreciate the extra work that has been put on them.
ATP/CFI/A&P. Bell TH-13T
Pinellas Board of County Commissioners
Kenneth City FL
With the pandemic raging on, I’ve had fewer flying hours in all the airplanes I operate. Otherwise, I had no problems or disruptions with any of my trips in 2020. The only difference is FBO personnel wearing particle masks.
ATP/CFII. Citation Encore+/CJ2, Piper Cheyenne IIXL & Cessna 310
Corporate Aviation Services
Everything has been good for our operations. I think everyone is looking forward to returning to some semblance of normality and prosperity this year. I’m very appreciative of all the front-line health professionals who have given their all to keep us safe.
ATP. Falcon 2000
All the services are functioning and doing their best to comply with all the new health recommendations. Our flight schedule has been reduced considerably, allowing easier scheduling for maintenance. The folks at the FBOs are working hard to provide services matching those of pre-Covid times, but with proper distancing. These folks are on the front line of necessary workers, and are doing a great job that allows me to finish the flights that are scheduled. I appreciate their hard work!
ATP/Helo. King Air & Cessna 414A
Allen Lambert Pilot Service
During 2020, I noticed that FBOs often had limited staffing. Otherwise, services have been very good.
ATP/CFII. Citation II, Piper Cheyenne III & Cessna 310
My experience has been mostly positive. At some locations in certain states, there has been reluctance on the part of some FBO members to wear masks. Of greater impact, however, is that there is little or no enforcement of mask policies on non-complying FBO patrons at these locations. Other than that, I’ve encountered exceptional service and friendliness at the vast majority of FBOs. This is notable because much of the corporate and charter business has actually increased during this pandemic period.
ATP. King Air B350/Beechcraft 1900
Wheels Up Partners
It’s been challenging for aviation services, considering Covid-19 requirements that need to be followed. However, most FBOs and fuel suppliers are aware of these requirements and they’ve been doing a great job regardless.
ATP. Piper PA-18 Super Cub
We used Modern Aviation at BFI (Boeing Field, Seattle WA) in 2020. The staff were very nice and friendly, and the service was excellent.
ATP/A&P. Learjet 35
Compared to other years, there wasn’t much difference in using airport services – other than those services being more readily available due to the huge reduction in flights around the world. Services are always on hand on arrival at most airports in the Asia Pacific region, where I operate. The only difference with the current virus situation is that aviation services have to pay more attention to hygiene, and there’s minimal person-to-person contact. It’s a bit awkward with people I used to know. An ongoing issue is the restriction of people transit within airport premises. Most often, we have to stay close to the aircraft, and are not allowed into the terminal area during turn-around flights. And, if an overnight stay is necessary, movement is restricted to one’s own room. Travel is always escorted from point to point, aircraft to hotel, and vice versa. Also, I noticed more documentation being required in the event of contact tracing. In some places, that’s easily done online prior to arrival, and in some others, forms have to be filled on arrival.
Tong Bee Ngak
ATP. Learjet 60/XR & Citation Sovereign
Seletar Jet Charter
Business has been lighter at all FBOs that I visited in 2020, except for Jackson Hole Aviation at JAC (Jackson WY). I did notice a much friendlier environment at all the FBOs overall.
ATP/Helo. Citation CJ4, Falcon 2000, Learjet 60 & Bell 407
V1 Aviation Services
A steep decline in fuel prices early this year, along with the decrease in traffic on many FBO ramps, have been a pandemic bonus. Line folks and CSRs have seemed especially welcoming and appreciative in light of reduced traffic, although later in the year traffic began to pick up again. Our MRO experience at West Star Aviation GJT (Grand Junction CO) in late October revealed a very busy operation. It looked as if a lot of operators were having work done, both for maintenance and for upgrades. I’ve been very happy to see that virtually all of the FBOs that I’ve visited are taking Covid-19 very seriously. Many of them require a quick interview, temperature check, social distancing, and masks before entering the building.
ATP/CFII. Citation Mustang
Owner, Chief Pilot & DOM
Without exception, the FBOs, fueling centers, and MROs I used during 2020 provided the same high-quality service that I’ve always experienced, while maintaining extra safety protocols during the pandemic.
ATP/CFII. Citation Excel/XLS & King Air 200
Wheels Up Private Jets
Peachtree City GA
For the most part, FBOs and MROs have been very accommodating with visitors. They’ve gone out of their way to work around very challenging schedule changes on short notice, along with Covid-19-related travel and work restrictions.
ATP. Falcon 2000LX
Aviation Consultants of Aspen
Castle Rock CO
It was a challenging year, but everyone rose to the occasion. After halting all flying on April 1, I resumed my regular schedule, and it worked out really well. It’s a wonderful time to have a personal aircraft.
ATP. Citation Mustang
Owner & Pilot