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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Related background information from the Handbook...

Aiglle Flight Support
FBO/Handler (Guernsey)

Biggin Hill Executive Handling
FBO/Handler (Biggin Hill / London)

Eccelsa Aviation
FBO/Handler (Costa Smeralda / Olbia)

Inflite The Jet Centre
FBO/Handler (Stansted / London)

Jetex Abu Dhabi
FBO/Handler (Al Bateen Executive / Abu Dhabi)

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Our top five FBOs invest in facilities, but it is customer service that remains key
As experienced pilots and aircraft owners themselves, Aiglle Flight Support's Simon Fawcett and fellow joint managing director Richard Battersby have a first-hand perspective on what it takes to provide top rated FBO services.

As experienced pilots and aircraft owners themselves, Aiglle Flight Support's Simon Fawcett and fellow joint managing director Richard Battersby have a first-hand perspective on what it takes to provide top rated FBO services. But it is the hard work of their Guernsey-based team that they credit with the company winning this year's EBAN reader feedback survey.

"We are absolutely thrilled to win this prestigious award," says Fawcett. "Taking second place last year made our small, close-knit team more determined than ever to go that extra mile. There has been a real concerted effort over the past twelve months on delivering service excellence to our customers and it is a real credit to all that hard work and dedication that we've won this award."

The company's facility offers 30,000 sq ft of modern, climate controlled hangar space and a range of premium facilities to passengers, including lounges, a conference room, weather and flight planning computer, baggage handling and customs and immigration facilitation, slot co-ordination, ramp access for vehicles, hotel, taxi and hire car booking, fuelling assistance, aircraft washing and valeting. "One feature that is always welcomed is Aiglle's crew car which is available free of charge to crews on a lay over," says Fawcett.

Aiglle was formed in 2000 when a consortium of the hangar customers took the business over following the death of the hangar's founder.

The Eccelsa FBO at Olbia was voted second by EBAN readers this year. "In 2010 and 2011 we registered interesting positive growth again and the expectations are positive also for 2012, although the situation in Italy appears to be rather uncertain," says manager Francesco Cossu.

Business on Sardinia is strongly seasonal, ranging from over 150 aircraft movements a day in the summer to only a few movements in the winter. Coping with such a large swing provides considerable challenges. "We work very actively on personnel selection, training and motivation," says Cossu.

To improve all-weather access Geasar SpA, which owns both the airport itself as well as Eccelsa Aviation, has started work extending the runway to 2,700 metres, and expects this to be completed by summer 2014.

The Eccelsa terminal features a business centre, crew resting room, passenger lounge, elegant restaurant, bar and coffee shop, vvip lounge, private car parking, and six luxury shops including Royal Cashmere, de Grisogono, StarDust, Cucinelli and Ermenegildo Zegna.

London-Stansted FBO Inflite is delighted to have been ranked in third place, but is not resting on its laurels. A new terminal is due to be completed in May this year.

Says director of the family-run business Penny Stephens: "Even though we enlarged and redecorated our existing facility three years ago, it is important to keep up with the times and to maintain or improve standards. It has always been my belief that arriving at an FBO for either passengers or crew, should be the same experience as arriving at a 5+ star hotel. With this in mind, we have designed our new terminal to enable us to deliver that luxury hotel experience."

Such investment in facilities has seen newly-formed DhabiJet at Al Bateen Executive airport make its survey debut at number four.

"We are thrilled that DhabiJet, less than one-year old, has entered the premier league of FBO operators, a ringing endorsement for the investment we have made to enhance our services and facilities for flight crew and the commitment and dedication of our team, led by senior director Pauline Smith," said Al Bateen general manager Steve Jones. Al Bateen's accomplishment comes hard on the heels of a record year which saw it record more than a 50% increase in visiting business aviation traffic. The airport attracted 124 new first time international business aviation customers too.

DhabiJet's modern two-storey crew lounge, inaugurated in November, is now fully operational. The new facility combines work areas to carry out crew briefings and flight planning, and lounge areas to entertain and relax. The top floor is occupied by Al Bateen's flight operations department and a briefing room. The ground floor is entirely dedicated to crew, featuring a lounge area with satellite TV, snooze room, work station, meeting room, pantry, shower facility and a prayer room.

But work is not yet finished. The coming year is expected to see the refurbishment of several large hangars for MRO stations for large or very large business aircraft; the completion of a second DhabiJet passenger lounge; the completion of an on-site executive in-flight catering centre operated by Executive Gourmet, part of the Gate Gourmet Group; and the development of high end retail sales within the vvip lounges.

"What matters most is the attention to detail and no stone is left unturned to ensure that whatever the customer's needs and expectations are, we go that extra distance to exceed their expectations," says Pauline Smith. "I am optimistic that, based upon the foundations laid in 2011 and the new projects already planned, we will continue to increase our market share in the coming year. The challenging international economic environment and tough competition means we have to continue to improve everything we do if we are to increase our growth and reputation internationally, which is our stated aim."

Completing our readers' favourite five is Biggin Hill Executive Handling. Robert Walters, business development manager, says: "Our Executive Handling team are thrilled by this recognition of their dedicated efforts to provide a high quality and personal FBO service. The high-ranking result in the survey is all the more encouraging as it exclusively reflects choice and preference directly from the customer."

The FBO service at Biggin Hill Airport has been boosted with the opening of a 50,000 sq ft hangar, with a range of serviced offices in support, which now offers secure short or long term hangarage up to BBJ or ACJ size.

"We shall not forget that customers have a choice – a driving force for any service-related business," adds Walters.