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Handling the FBO [Fixed based operator]

welcomedesk (2)Many of us have to manage arrivals of our high profile clients and principals when they arrive at private FBO’s.  This task becomes even more cumbersome when doing so overseas when customs come into play.  You have to interact with companies like Landmark Aviation, Swissport and others.  How you manage that interaction prior to arrival and departure could mean the difference between seconds and minutes of you principal being stagnant in the common area of the FBO.

No matter how secure you maintain the principal’s schedule on the ground, you have little to no control over the flight manifest that lists the plane and its passengers by REAL name.  If you are responsible for a celebrity that performs under a stage name then there is some relief that their real names are not known, but don’t count on it because Google and Wikipedia can close that gap.

There is a specific process I use for arrivals and another that I use for departures that limits my principal’s exposure to less than 2 minutes inside the FBO lobby area. To be effective your total time from boarding to disembarking any private jet should be less than 5 minutes of total exposure.

Too often specialists only focus their security protocols AFTER the principal has departed from the FBO.  The most common mistake is that in all of their security EXCELLENCE they do NOT include the FBO in the protective advance packet.  That’s correct, you should treat the FBO or airport as a site that needs to be advanced.  The detail starts on wheels down.

I have advanced FBO’s overseas that were a ghost town but by the time I arrived hours before the arrival I have noticed large crowds of people waiting for the same arrival.  How does this happen?  The manifest has been leaked to the flight support team and members show up, even on their day off to get a glimpse, photo or signature of your principal.  This is why you do a proper advance to mitigate this when it happens.

In “some” not all and depending on your resources in that country you can have the vehicles at the bottom of the plane, have customs do their business on the tarmac and leave without ever going inside the FBO lobby.

1 comment

  1. Josh

    Great post. FBO advances are a crucial part of the advance package. Those who don’t give them enough thought or do a half-ass job it can come back to haunt them.

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