Q: What does it take to build a sense of comfort and a settled preference for a particular base among your customers, so that given a choice of airports to fly out of or into, your FBO operations will be uppermost in their thinking?
A: It is essential that the customer or the operator feels that they will always get the same quality of service at any time of the day and with no unexpected problems. The most important things for customers are: 24-hour full service, on-site border control and security checks, good facilities for passengers and crew, plus the possibility of ramp access.
Q:How important is catering for flight crews to your FBO philosophy?
A: We always regard the crew as a very important customer for us. If they get excellent service in our FBO then they will spread the word to other crews and that is the best enhancement of your reputation. We provide free beverages and coffee for all our customer crew members.
Q: What are the logistical challenges in providing a completely ‘seamless’ one-stop service for operators and their clients?
A: In our FBO, all services can be provided on site. The challenge is to adjust and coordinate services when there are sudden schedule changes.
Q: How important are fuel card schemes and the like to your business? What is done to make the back office accounting side of things run as smoothly and painlessly as possible?
A: This is not that important for us. We provide a full credit service for all customers.
Q: How do you go about building up relationships with operators, charter companies and owners? What is involved in promoting the FBO to the world?
A: Our quality of work is the most important tool we have to promote our business. We also advertise in magazines and we participate in exhibitions, but it is the face-to-face contact with the client that creates real value.
Q: How can an FBO become more than a regional player? Is it best to focus on your strengths in a particular region or is diversification the name of the game so that you have a presence in both emerging and developed markets?
A: We are not looking to expand our FBO operations, so that makes us very much a local player. If one is looking for expansion then the most important thing would be to win agreements with major operators to be their preferred FBO.
Q: How important is the external and internal appearance of the building? Should the FBO flight lounge facilities, for example, aim to be palatial or simply smart executive? Is it important to have a hotel dimension so that the VIPs can sleep over if necessary or is that just adding a prohibitive cost level to the business?
A: Appearance is important but our experience is that even more important is that the visit is as quick and that it goes off as smoothly as possible. In our case it takes less than three minutes to walk from the plane through the terminal to the car. It is important to have many different standard and quality hotel options near the FBO.
Q: What can the FBO do to add value for its various constituents, ie, operators, VIPs, owners, charter companies, flight crews?
A: There are all kinds of extra services that can be provided. Some of these can be done for no extra charge while other services can cost extra. It is important to have options!