Airport Business

DEC 2018-JAN 2019

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December 2018/January 2019 airportbusiness 27 COVER STORY their thing in the workforce they come down, but from an aviation standpoint, we’ve seen it’s a lot more integrated than that,” Banome said. “People are coming down and doing business and not necessarily vacationing.” Fontainebleau is owned by Turnberry Associates, which is traditionally a hospitality company. While price is always the deciding factor for some customers, Banome said the South Florida market is an area where outstanding service can really set the FBO apart from competitors. “Our expectations are that of delivering the same product that you’d see at the Fontainebleau Hotel, the same product you’d see at the Turnberry Isles Country Club, the same level of facilities and offerings that you’d see at the Aventura Mall,” Courtney said. “Those types of things that are already in our DNA are what we’re employing and what we’re training and what we’re bringing to the table at aviation property as well. The challenge of finding labor also plagues South Florida, Courtney said, but the emphasis on customer experience means taking non-traditional routes of employee development. Instead of seeking just aviation professionals, Fontainebleau reaches out the hospitality businesses in the region and area colleges like Florida International University who had never known aviation was a potential career path. “We’ve really educated some of our own people that aviation has a tremendous amount of opportunity and it has nothing to do with being behind the yoke of the aircraft. It has nothing to do with being a pilot or a technician,” Courtney said.. “I feel we’re one of the best FBOs in the entire country and there’s not a single pilot in the executive staff…yet we can speak the lingo, we can understand the concepts, but we’re hospitality-driven individuals, we’re financially-driven individuals who just so happen to be in the aviation industry. “We have a passion for what we do, but we don’t want to fight to fly the airplane,” he said. “We want to take care of the passengers. We’re an extension of the operation. We’re a service provider.” The new star in Dallas McKinney National Airport in McKinney, Texas, has seen a 35,500 increase in traffic since 2016 and had sold about 1.5 million gallons in fuel through September. Kenneth Carley, airport director at McKinney said the growth is attributed in part to development in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex beginning to migrate north to the area along with the airport’s unique asset in the region — developable land. “We’re building hangars while other airports that may be in some of the more desirable locations geographically in the region don’t,” he said. “We benchmark against Addison, which is a great airport in a great location, but one of the ways we’re different from Addison is that we have land available to develop and we’re talking to a lot of companies about a lot of projects.” According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) 2018 Texas Aviation Economic Impact study, the McKinney’s airport now has a $212 million impact on the area, which is up from $44 million in 2011. “I think it’s a nice message for us to share with the community,” Carley said. “This is a regional asset and this is really what its output is to the region.” On the west side of the airport, Carley said McKinney has 45 acres of land split into several parcels to develop. In addition, it also purchased 190 acres of land to the east of the airport to allow for additional future development as current trends show the west side being maxed out in terms of development. “That land on the east side can really make use of the same infrastructure in terms of the runway/taxiway system, all the airport infrastructure, so I think it was very forward looking for the city council and the city to consider and acquire that land,” he said. “I see that land is already working for us today because even though we don’t have any aeronautical development over there today, one of the key things an airport tries to do is preserve the land around an airport for aeronautical development and ensure non-compatible development doesn’t happen.” The city of McKinney took over the FBO at the airport in 2013 and is currently building a $16 million, 17,000 square-foot terminal and 40,000 square-foot hangar in conjunction with Western LLC. Carley said the new facility will add additional room while offering state-of-the-art amenities for travelers. “The city did a nice renovation to the terminal we’re in today, but it’s already at capacity and it feels kind of small at our peak periods,” Carley said. Carley said there are about 300 aircraft based at McKinney, but most of them are single engine piston aircraft. The airport doesn’t see that market as the highest growth market going forward, so the new hangar will be geared towards corporate operators. “It’s really geared to some of the largest corporate operators, which is the market segment we’re trying to grow the most,” he said. “The highest and best use of facilities seems to be to develop facilities that cater to that demand and that demand seems to be there.” Carley said they continue to put an emphasis on customer service to keep growing their business. “Our philosophy is that you can have all the bells and whistles that you can construct in facilities, but none of it really means anything if you don’t provide good customer service,” We really look to provide that at the airport and the airport-owned FBO has been the No. 1 FBO four out of the last five years in the flightplan.com pilot’s choice awards survey.” Fontainebleau Aviation's FBO services put an emphasis on experience the company has in the hospitality industry to create a strong customer experience. Fontainebleau Aviation

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