I’m coming up to my sixth month at Air Service Basel and as I'm completely new to the Business Aviation industry, I thought I would share with you a few interesting facts about the sector that I didn't know about before I began.
What is Business Aviation?
Business Aviation isn't really spoken about outside of the industry, but if you mention "Private Jet industry" or "Private Jet travel" you'd probably have some idea about what that includes. Yes, it does include private jets, but no, it isn't actually all about serving the rich and famous.
Business Aviation includes all flights that are not conducted by the military or scheduled by commercial airlines. It also involves entrepreneurs and organizations located all over the world in some of the most rural locations.
In Europe, Business Aviation connects over 25,000 airport pairs and offers over 400,000 jobs in highly-skilled professions.
What is an FBO?
An FBO is a Fixed Based Operator which refers to a private terminal where private jets, or helicopters, can take-off or land and receive other services too.
In the past when a private flight wanted to arrive on an airfield which was not their home base they would need to coordinate with someone at the desired airport in order to land. The aircraft operator may have also needed to refuel his aircraft or even needed a small repair.
This is predominately how FBOs began.
As the aviation industry evolved and private jet flights became more popular after WWII, a need arose to facilitate more and more aircraft.
FBO services expanded to serve aircraft on the ground in terms of maintenance, repairs, quality-assurance and hangar parking ; and for the customers and crew in terms of security and customs, car-parking, catering and concierge services.
Today, many airports have more than one FBO, which gives the operators and passengers a choice on where to land depending on location, price and extra facilities they offer.
Can I hire a private jet from an FBO like Air Service Basel?
No. Air Service Basel acts like a kind of service provider, or travel agent if you like, between owners and operators. We can arrange aircraft for customers to buy or hire through our partners but most FBOs don't usually own aircraft and charter it out directly. We focus on handling the aircraft, the passengers, and the crew when they arrive or depart from our facility.
What is the difference between a private jet owner, operator and charter flight?
Private jet owner
A private jet owner is probably the most simple one, this is the owner of the aircraft itself. An FBO would do business with them or their assistant directly.
An aircraft operator is anybody who is legally allowed to operate aircraft in accordance with the rules and regulations of the country of registration and international aviation law.
Some commercial operators are: Easyjet, British Airways, Swiss International Airlines
Some private operators are: Cat Aviation, NetJets, Tag Aviation, Jet Aviation.
Aircraft owners and operators can charter flights. This means they can organise a specific journey from one FBO/airport to another FBO/airport for their private journey avoiding delays and issues faced with commercial flights.
Charter flights are also beneficial because they can arrive and land in more locations around the world than commercial flights. Therefore passenger gets much more freedom and flexibility on their trip.
What is an empty leg flight?
Often, when a passenger has chartered a flight and is dropped off at their desired destination, the aircraft will fly back to its home base empty. Aircraft owners and operators sell these seats to a make profit on the empty flight for discounts of up to 75%.
I think this is a great option to open up the business aviation industry to people who usually opt for commercial flights but may want to try a brand new flying experience.
And that’s all for now.
I hope that helps you understand some more about Business Aviation. If you have an comments or questions feel free to leave a comment below.