Provide Essential Aviation Needs Tourism Essay
In early days planes and aircrafts were small and owned by individuals who acted as pilots, passengers as well as mechanics. During those days landing places supplied fuel only. As technology progressed bigger and complex aircrafts were constructed such it was realized that they could be used as a commercial mode of transport. It’s at this stage that international airport and jets carrying hundred of passengers and tones of goods were invented. As a result of these developments the early fuelling stations had to evolve in to modern Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) to provide services that would ensure effective and reliable air transport. Most airlines and corporations have their own mechanics and service stations to service their planes, but individuals and smaller corporations which cannot afford to staff private services for their planes take their aircraft to FBOS. According to Castro (1995) FBOs can be defined as service stations of the aviation system or a service organization located at an airport that provides for profit services to the aviation industry.
According to McDavid (2009) a fixed base operator is a vendor that offers various aviation services and products for sale at an airport. It may be a franchise or an independent operation whose primary clientele is composed of commercial pilots, private pilots, air taxi services, recreational aviation outfits, corporate flight departments’ and air ambulance operations. An FBO may also offer services to commercial airlines, government aviation and the military. FBOs also sell products and services that support the needs and demands of their customers.
Most airports own and equip FBOs offering a comfortable environment with accessible parking and check-in, baggage handling, food service, office support, ground transportation, access to accommodation and aircraft service and maintenance. FBOs play and important role in the aviation community to ensure that all people have access to aviation services (Wensveen, 2007). The focus of this paper is to explore how the FBOs provide the aviation community with the required services and their contributions to provision of essential transport services.#p#分頁標題#e#
Maintenance and sale of aircraft accessories
Maintenance of aircrafts is essential to aviation and its mission has matured along with the industry. The technical proficiency and safety of the passengers boarding planes is regarded as a given by the airlines. The main goal of airline besides making profits is to ensure that the customers receive the best services. The FBOs are equipped with the latest equipments and materials required in the maintenance of aircrafts most notably the light planes. They are contracted by private jet owners and corporations for mechanical maintenance and service usually after and before the flight. Such check ups ensure that planes fly and reach their destinations without interruptions. Maintenance operations of the aircrafts are thus planned in strategic time between arrivals and departures in order to minimize the air craft grounding, to assure the on-time craft delivery and respect of the daily flight schedule and it’s for this reason that FBOs are mostly located in airports. The essence of this is that to make sure that businessmen do their businesses on time hence saving costs related to delays. In addition, proper maintenance ensures that timely delivery of goods is achieved so that they don’t get spoilt or reach in market when demand is low ( Wensveen, 2007).
Maintenance management is a strategic process of any airline and private jets both for quality and economy. This is because it must achieve and satisfy time and safety goals of the airline. This goes hand in hand with the availability and reliability of the FBOs which are charged with these responsibilities. The competitiveness and expertise of the staff in the FBOS coupled with correct management ensures system efficiency by reducing at minimum the maintenance time hence ensuring that the aircraft grounding time is reduced (Gliozzi et al, 20030).
All components and parts of aircrafts have a time limit and they need to be inspected regularly or changed. Just like most of other machines the maintenance program of aircrafts are defined by the manufacturers and all maintenance tasks are specified. The FBOs are charged with the responsibility of identifying which parts needs to be replaced or repaired to ensure that the aircrafts work at their maximum capacity. The work of the FBOs thus helps in reducing the air accidents that might be related to technical problems of the aircrafts. This way the operations of the aircrafts, airlines and passengers are also safeguarded. In addition to these FBOs sell air flames, aircraft accessories, avionics and propellers and other technical parts of an aircraft to their customers (Newmyer & Wolf, 1985).
Renting and leasing services of FBOs
Airplanes are extremely expensive to buy, very few individuals who do not have specific and frequent business transportation by general aviation aircraft are in a position to buy new model airplane that is well equipped with avionics and other options. Most individuals who would like to own an aircraft needs some kind financial assistance in terms of income stream so as to afford to make acquisition and operation of the aircraft. The leaseback provides this service to the aircraft owners. An aircraft owner leases the aircraft to an FBO for the FBO to use it in the rental fleet, or for any other commercial use. This way the income generated by the FBO is shared between the owner and the FBO at agreed rates. The owner of the aircraft makes income and the FBO make profits and maintains the aircraft in good conditions. This implies that the aircraft owner has the ability to reinstate the initial capital used to buy the aircraft. On the other hand if the aircraft was purchased by the FBO on behalf of the owner the FBO will be able to make money to repay itself. This kind of lease back is thus attractive because the aircraft owner will see the aircraft fly adequately such that even if it’s not profitable it provides enough cash so that the owner can afford to own an aircraft that otherwise was not possible. This service helps many people to own aircrafts. This is healthy for the aviation industry as it brings more competition which means better services are offered by aviation services providers and accessibility to aviation services by the community in increased (Eicherberger, 1997).#p#分頁標題#e#
Besides the leaseback services FBOs offer rental services especially of light aircrafts to private individuals or corporations to run their businesses. This helps to ease congestion in major airlines and increases flexibility of the air transport. Major airlines have fixed schedules which must be followed except for emergency commitments. Use of rented aircraft enable the business people to handle their clients in timely manner and emerging opportunities are tapped in time. Renting also by private pilots and pilot trainees helps them to increase their flying skills due to enough practice (Eicherberger, 1997).
Many aviation students aspire to obtain private pilots license for business or personal reasons while others use it as stepping stone to an airliner or military aviation careers. FBO s offers most of flying services to the local people. In fact it is requirement of the law in the US that all FBOs should offer flight training to individuals aspiring to learn the science of flying. FBOs thus have professional flight instructors on staff who provides ground and flight instruction. In addition FBOs enter in to agreements with the local flying clubs that offers flight training to assist them in their training lessons whenever need arises. FBOs in their attempt to expand their training facilities also establish vocational and technical school or enter in agreements with the existing vocational and technical schools to introduce aviation programs where they help in they flight training (Gliozzi & Fasano, 2003).
Even though most passengers commuting through air transport use large airlines such British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Fly Emirates and others FBOs provide an alternative to these airlines by providing transport services. For instance in 1984 the FBOs carried over 5.1 million passenger in unscheduled charter aircraft and flew over 3.1 million hours of flight instruction (Wensveen, 2007). There exist a group of rich individuals in the society who prefer to use private jets and aircrafts in their affairs. These individuals rely much on the services offered by FBOs such as renting of light aircrafts, maintenance services of their aircrafts as well as fuelling. FBOs provide alternative air transport to these individuals who don’t feel comfortable using the major airlines. Private air transport services offered by FBOs therefore contributes in provision of aviation services to those people who are sensitive to class. Moreover, this transport is not only important to class conscious people but also in handling emergency matters (AdoAir aviation group, 2009).
As noted in the beginning traditional FBOs were only engaged in fueling services until the time for modern FBOS which are engaged in a range of activities. As small and private jets increase due to their affordability business people found it difficult to be commuting to big FBOS usually located in major airports for refueling. As a result of this smaller FBOs came up in smaller towns and rural areas to take care of the needs of such aircrafts. Because FBOS are also interested in making profits they diversified to providing other services apart from fueling. However, fueling remains one of the major income generators of the FBOS (Castro, 1985).#p#分頁標題#e#
Customs and immigration services
FBOs also have customs and immigration staff on site in all working hours a day. This service allows the FBO to offer in lounge immigration to its customers. It allows customers with diplomatic clearance to receive dedicated immigration services rather than passing through normal immigration channels in the airports. Most FBOs struggle to maintain working relationships with the relevant official immigration bodies for the benefit of their customers (Ado air aviation group, 2008).
They adhere with the set protocols by the immigration organization fully. They also request their customers to adhere to the rules and regulations for their own benefit and operational integrity of their businesses. In addition they provide their customers with information regarding visas and custom regulations. These services enable the business people to evade the bureaucratic immigration and custom procedures that require too much time since they must first familiarize themselves with them. The expert who understands the laid down procedures fully contributes to avoid interferences that lead to too much time consumption on simple immigration tasks. The business community thus has its immigration and custom clearance done for them comfortably as they rest in their lounges. As they wait for this service to be rendered the FBOs earn revenues from other accommodation services they offer to their customers in their lounges (AdoAir aviation group, 2008).
FBOs usually fly single engine airplanes which makes them access the majority of the 12653 airports and 66 stolports in the US (Newmeyer, 1985). Small scale FBOS which usually operate light aircrafts are very relevant in connecting their customers to major airlines due to their flexibility in flying. Passengers who reside in rural and remote areas of the country and far from major airlines can access the major airlines in short period of time from their residential areas. This flexibility of the light aircrafts is also important in responding to rescue missions and emergencies. The accessibility of the FBOs to majority of the airports also makes them reliable to transport their customers and their goods to airlines.
Hotel accommodation services
Air travel has generated substantial amount of business and leisure travel, as a result a large number of full service have been constructed in airports and around airports. This paper focuses on the hotel accommodation offered by the FBOs. Due to the frequency of customers in the FBOs, the need arises for their accommodation because some services may last for long periods of time. Such hotel facilities especially in airports facilitate the customers to hold business meetings and conduct their business transactions within the precincts of the airport or the FBO. Specific requirements of lodging vary greatly depending on the size of the FBO to host community, the number of carrier passengers and the types of customers visiting the FBO. All these factors influence the kind of hotel to be located in FBOs because different types of hotels appeal differently to different groups of people. On top of that FBOs offer parking for aircrafts which are considered beneficial to the owner of aircraft and the customers due to the mutual benefits associated with them (Wiley, 2006).#p#分頁標題#e#
The accommodation hotels of FBOs also offer car rental facilities to their customers who might be involved in road travels which are almost inevitable. Rental car storage area, rental car check in and secure car cleaning and fuelling points similar to those found in airports. The FBO usually operates buses to the airport to facilitate customer access to the major airlines (Wiley, 2006).
Modern FBOs evolved from the traditional fuelling stations which only offered fuelling services to light aircrafts. Technological advancement which have made aircrafts affordable to the a few individuals necessitated for the to evolve so that they can offer the aviation services to big emerging aviation community. FBOs now act as backbone of the present aviation industry due to the importance of the range of services they offer in to both the local community and the aviation industry. The FBOs are therefore integral parts of the aviation industry such that major airlines sometimes operate FBOs even if they do not realize any profits. With the help of the community the survival of the FBO is assured. This helps to avoid the rural community from being cutoff and ensuring that they have access aviation services (Wensveen, 2007).
The FBOs provide a range of services to the business community and the aviation industry such that the two can not be separated in this era of globalization where the world is becoming a global village and the markets are expanding. The services offered by FBOs include: Maintenance of aircrafts, sale of aircraft accessories, accommodation, fueling, aircraft taxi, charter services, flight training, immigration, custom services as well a s connection flights. The FBOs are thus important in the current aviation industry and their existence should be strengthened. The rules and regulations guiding the operation of the FBOs should also be implemented fully to facilitate the operations of the FBOS.