Flying by private jet not only means that you have an aircraft all to yourself, but it also means that you get to skip the commercial airline airport experience by utilizing fixed-base operators (FBO).
A fix-base operator (commonly referred to as FBO) is a company that has been given permission by the airport to operate on its premises and typically manages aspects such as fuelling and parking.
Let’s explore what facilities are provided by an FBO, what to expect, and why they are sometimes referred to as the airport terminals for private jets.
The Advantages of Fixed-Base Operators
Given that FBOs deal with private aircraft, their setup is considerably different from that of a typical airport terminal.
From the passenger’s perspective, a fixed-base operator is essentially the airport terminal.
Inconveniences such as long security lines, crowded terminals, and limited waiting areas are non-existent in a fixed-base operator.
The efficiency of an FBO contributes to the fact that passengers flying by private jet need only arrive 15 to 20 minutes prior to departure.
Additionally, fixed-base operators also provide passengers with increased privacy.
FBOs are normally quiet and empty, with a high level of privacy, security, and discreet staff.
Therefore, especially for celebrities and public figures, FBOs provide a way to travel unnoticed, especially if they are able to have a car deliver them directly to the aircraft door.
What is a Private Jet Airport Terminal?
As mentioned, the private jet airport terminal is simply the building of the FBO which is a private company that has been given permission by the airport to operate services.
These areas are commonly referred to as the private jet airport terminals as it is an easy way to relate to commercial travel that most people are used to, especially first-time flyers.
Typically, these FBOs are discrete buildings that are tucked away from the main airport terminal and can’t be ‘accidentally’ accessed.
What Does a Fixed-Base Operator Offer?
As mentioned, there are some key advantages that fixed-base operators are able to provide:
Privacy is one of the main advantages. It takes the private jet experience and extends it to all aspects of flying privately.
As you would expect with all aspects of aviation, safety and security are top priorities. This extends to FBOs with only those with reservations permitted to enter the building.
Given the low traffic for most FBOs, there are no queues and no waiting, resulting in a fast and efficient experience.
While FBO waiting areas are designed to be comfortable they are rarely used for long periods of time as the aim is always to get the passenger to their destination as fast as possible.
Fixed-base operators come with fast security checks, streamlined customs and immigration procedures, and direct access to the aircraft.
Many FBOs also feature business facilities that allow passengers to have private meetings and even conferences within these facilities.
Luxurious Lounges and Amenities
Despite the fact that the aim of FBOs is privacy and efficiency, they are pleasant places to be.
FBOs are usually equipped with comfortable seating areas, stylish designs, and a calming atmosphere.
There is normally a wide variety of food and drink options, showers, and exceptional views of the apron.
Many FBOs will also offer a variety of concierge services to make your experience better.
Some concierge services are able to book restaurant reservations, hotel stays, and, of course, arrange transportation options such as a car rental.
Concierge services cover everything including guiding clients through customs and immigration processes.
Because life frequently takes unexpected turns, concierge services profit from being able to be flexible.
Concierges are prepared to modify and adapt, making sure that customers’ requirements are satisfied quickly and effectively, whether it be a last-minute request or an abrupt change in travel arrangements.
Notable Private Jet Terminals Around the World
As you would expect, there are thousands of fixed-base operators around the globe.
Signature Flight Support, New York (JFK)
At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Signature Flight Support provides a privileged entrance to the city.
This covert terminal features a sleek and contemporary design and offers travelers first-rate lounges, gourmet catering, and individualized concierge services.
Its proximity to Manhattan’s downtown makes it a popular option for discriminating visitors to the Big Apple.
Jetex, Dubai (DXB)
At Dubai International Airport, Jetex runs a spectacular FBO in the center of the opulent city of Dubai.
The grandeur and richness that Dubai is known for are embodied in this terminal.
Luxurious lounges, private suites, and even access to spa facilities are provided as a greeting to passengers.
Signature Flight Support, London (LCY)
Signature Flight Support’s clandestine terminal makes use of London City Airport’s renown for being close to the city core.
The terminal offers visitors stunning views of the well-known London skyline, plush lounges, conference spaces, and a full range of concierge services.
It’s a brilliant example of a covert terminal that expertly combines luxury and convenience.
TAG Farnborough Airport, Farnborough (EGLF)
Southwest of London, TAG Farnborough Airport serves as the center for private jet travel.
The terminal of the airport is a model of modernity, with sleek furnishings and contemporary architecture.
Meeting spaces, food options, and even a VIP crew lounge are available at the facility, which serves both passengers and aircraft crews.
Landmark Aviation, Los Angeles (LAX)
Landmark Aviation’s fixed-base operator at Los Angeles International Airport stands out in the middle of the city’s entertainment district.
The terminal, which was styled after Hollywood glitz, provides visitors with a range of opulent extras like VIP lounges, spa facilities, and even a theater.
Signature Flight Support, Paris-Le Bourget (LFPB)
The long history of Paris-Le Bourget Airport in aviation is well-known.
The terminal for Signature Flight Support at this airport perfectly encapsulates a chic Parisian style.
The building offers exquisitely furnished lounges, upscale eating options, and a variety of services that showcase the city’s commitment to sophistication and luxury.
Fixed-base operators (FBOs) are the gateway to the aircraft at the airport.
They are companies that have been granted permission to ‘handle’ the aircraft on the ground.
As we have seen, these facilities are comfortable, private, and maximize efficiency so that you can get on the aircraft quickly while still making sure that all passengers are safe.