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What is an FBO in Aviation? – Complete Guide

Have you ever heard about the term FBO in relation to the aviation industry? If not then FBO stands for fixed base operator. The FBO aids day to day operation of local, private, and commercial airports. More on that later! Before let’s learn about the interesting history of the term FBO and what is an FBO in aviation.

History Behind the Term FBO

Do you know what are barnstormers? After the end of world war I, the barnstormers flew their aircraft and performed stunts to impress the crowd with their skill. The barnstorming show peaked in popularity in the early 1920s, but in 1926 the American government passed the ‘Air Commerce Act’ to regulate the flying of aerial vehicles.

 

After the passing of the new law, pilots needed licenses for flying and providing aircraft maintenance and repair services. The mechanics and pilots that were involved in flying circuses or recreational flying established their business called FBO. So, the meaning of FBO in aviation is Fixed-Based Operators, who provide services like maintenance, repair, and short and long-term parking. 

 

From this history, the FBOs have come a long way and in the present day, their services have severely expanded to advance to most basic amenities.

What Does FBO Stand for in Aviation?

The FBO stands for the fixed base operator. It’s an establishment that provides services to airports. The range of services FBO provides depends on various factors but fundamentally, these services are maintenance, repair, and inspection of aircraft. 

 

You can also call it a collaboration with airport authorities. There are various types of collaboration or relations between airports and FBOs. Let’s take a look at them. 

  1. FBOs may have leased the space in the airports to provide services to pilots, crew staff, airport staff, and passengers.
  2. FBO could be providing services to the airport like aircraft maintenance and refueling without renting any space at the airport.
  3. The FBO can be completely independent of the airport and can provide services like refueling, maintenance, inspection, or parking by luxury private jet charter services.

What Services do FBOs Provide?

The list of services provided by FBOs depends on diverse socio-economic factors. Here is a list of factors that affects the number of services provided by FBOs. 

  • Economical 
  • Constitutional 
  • Geographical 
  • Airport Size 
The above factors work and affect the FBOs collectively and not independently. Now, let’s get into the diverse range of services the FBO offers. 
  1. Refueling of the jet engine or aviation fuel. (Piston fuel or turbine aircraft fuel)
  2. Air charter services 
  3. Air taxi services 
  4. Air carrier services (could be with or without support service)
  5. Pilot training 
  6. General aviation services 
  7. Aircraft rental services 
  8. Aircraft selling services 
  9. Aircraft transportation service 
  10. Aeroplane inspection, maintenance, and repair
  11. Arial photography or sky photography 
  12. Aircraft marketing 
  13. Aircraft parking or hangar service 
These were some of the major services that FBO in aviation service offers. FBOs are located in high-traffic airports like the ones in London and New York and also offer some of the most basic facilities to passengers, pilots, and supporting staff. Let’s take a look at these services.
  1. Restroom facilities 
  2. Communication services 
  3. Food vendors and lounge 
  4. In-airport transport service (courtesy cars)
  5. Hotels and accommodation facility 
  6. Taki or limo service (Ground transportation services)
  7. Aviation supply shop 
  8. Concierge services

What is an FBO Airport?

The airport that works in collaboration with FBO or Fixed base operator can be called an FBO. FBO benefits from the requirements of passengers, crew members, and pilots. And airport ecosystem benefits from the services received by FBO. This interdependent and healthy partnership proves to be beneficial for both parties. 

 

Though, there are some local and regional airports that do not collaborate with FBO. All the functions of these airports are managed by the local or regional government bodies.

Who Receives Services from FBO?

The fact is anyone who visits the airport receives the services from FBO without them even knowing about it. Although there are some exceptions, there are local or regional airports that work independently without any support from FBO. But most of the airport work in collaboration with FBO. The passengers are not the only target customers of FBOs. FBO can also provide services to pilots, crew members, airport staff, technical staff, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can I find FBOs in all the Airports?

FBOs can be found in almost all Airports. But there are some exceptions where the airport is not in collaboration with FBOs. This is the case with some local or regional airports that are managed by local or regional governments respectively. 

Q2. What is an FBO in Aviation?

The FBO stands for Fixed Base Operator. 

Q3. How do FBOs Work?

The FBOs provide useful services required by the airport. Hence, all of the FBO’s works or operations depend on the airport and the airport depends on BPOs for refueling, inspection, maintenance, repair, and other important services needed by airport authorities, pilots, and passengers. This shows that FBO and the airports are interdependent. 

Q4. What is the Difference Between FBO, FPO, FOB, and APD?

 

Sr. Number

FBO

FPO

FOB

APD

Full Form 

Fixed base Operator 

Flight program operation 

Free on board 

Air Passenger Duty

Meaning of these terms 

FBO operates by providing important services to the airport.  

FPO is a governmental organization that regulates the FAA (Flight Program Safety) and other programs like flight training, flight planning, and more 

The FOB is a kind of agreement that sets the responsibility on the buyer or seller for damage or destruction of the goods during the shipment. 

APD is an excise duty charged to air passengers flying from the UK. 

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