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What Is an FBO Airport When Flying Private?

What Is An FBO Airport and Why Is It Important When Flying Privately | The Early Airway

Just about every industry has an acronym for something. The private jet charter business is no different. Here you will often find the acronym: FBO airport, which stands for Fixed Base Operator.

At most major airports – whether in the U.S. or around the world – is where you will find an FBO.

In the charter industry, you’ll often hear this term; but what is it and why is it important?


What Is An FBO?

You might be asking yourself “what is an FBO?”

Basically, an FBO airport is just a fancy name for the private terminal that is available to you when you arrive and wait for your private jet charter.

The term Fixed Base Operator has been around for a long time. In fact, since the early 1900’s. After World War I was over, there were many men without something to do. And, there were many pieces of aircraft just laying around waiting for a pilot.


The Origins Of The FBO.

So, what happened? Many pilots who returned from the war spent their time traveling from town to town in the old military aircraft.

They would do air shows, travel in groups, and became something of an event. But, quickly they would move on to the next town and the hoopla that surrounded them were gone.

Because of their transient behavior, many people began referring to these pilots as some sort of gypsies.

Therefore, when someone got the spectacular idea to take the planes and use them for private transportation, travelers did not necessarily take them seriously. After all, who is to say that the plane would be there when the travel day arrived? And how could they trust that there would be a plane to bring them back home?

To avoid any confusion and to distinguish themselves from the gypsy pilots, the serious transport operators decided to refer to themselves as Fixed Base Operators – letting the public know that they can rest assured that these are private travel planes that are permanently based at the airport (or local field).



What Services Does An FBO Airport Provide?

FBOs may vary greatly from airport to airport, some providing a more luxury service than others.

Generally speaking, however, an FBO airport will provide many services to both the traveler – and the private jet charter.

Here are just a few:

  • A lounge or place to rest
  • Fueling services for the jets
  • Transportation and parking services
  • Hangar services
  • Flight instruction
  • Tie-down services
  • Mechanical repair services
  • Baggage handling
  • Conference rooms
  • Pilot resting quarters

In other words, these private terminals offer everything one may need to utilize, operate, or own a private jet.


What Are The Benefits Of An FBO?

There are many benefits when it comes to an FBO airport. Of course, keep in mind that the number of benefits will vary depending on the private terminal.

When arriving for your private chartered flight, you will find that the FBO provides you with a welcoming and comfortable setting. You can relax and rest in the lounge before your flight.

Enjoy some coffee or other beverages and sample any light snacks that may be available. Wi-Fi and conference rooms are also usually available, allowing you to take care of any necessary business before heading into the skies.

But that is not all.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all when it comes to an FBO is the ability to avoid the commercial airport.

While you will still have to go through a security checkpoint, you will not encounter the number of people – or the lines – that you would do when traveling via a commercial airliner. In addition, there is no need to arrive so early for your flight!

If you don’t want to sit in the FBO and lounge before takeoff, then there is no need to do so. Arrive on time for your flight and head out.


What Should I Look For In An FBO Airport?

What you look for in a Fixed Base Operator is going to highly depend on your specific needs.

For example, are you traveling for pleasure or for business? Those traveling for pleasure may desire a private terminal that offers entertainment, beverages, and maybe even a place to sit back and nap.

When it comes to traveling for business, the FBO airport that is desired looks differently. Having wi-fi services available, as well as a workspace is beneficial. This includes a mock office setup with computer hookup or access stations, printing services, and more. Conference space for meeting clients – such as those corporate executives who fly in on a private jet for a meeting, then head right back out.

The most desired thing you should look for in an FBO, though, is great customer service. You are paying for a service when you charter a flight. And having access to the FBO is a perk.

Encountering individuals who are ready to make your experience unforgettable makes the private terminal a very welcoming, enjoyable space regardless of your needs.



Is It Safe To Travel Through An FBO Airport Instead Of A Regular Airport?

The answer is yes. Private terminals offer you many extra amenities, but they don’t take away from the security.

This is especially true post-9/11. There are many security measures in place to ensure the safety of all travelers.

Thankfully, due to the reduced number of travelers who have access to the FBOs, there are no dreaded, long security lines and the process runs rather smoothly.

FBOs work in connection with the FAA in providing a safe and secure service to its customers.



When it comes to traveling from point A to point B, you have a choice.

You can spend an extended amount of time dealing with fellow travelers and the ways of the commercial airliners in large, international airports. Or, you can choose a private jet charter and explore all the benefits of a private terminal, or FBO airport.

It seems that the latter is likely the better choice. And, for good reason.

Enjoy great customer service and an extensive array of amenities that can make your pre- and post-flight experience much more enjoyable. From your arrival to your departure, the FBO at your destination is an experience, unlike any other terminal.

They come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose- to provide outstanding customer service.

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