What is an FBO? Fixed-Base Operators for Private Jets

PUBLISHED ON 06.06.2022

Flying via private jet charter provides an unparalleled travel experience and has many wonders unbeknownst to commercial travelers. One of the unique aspects of private jet travel is the FBO. Passing through an FBO is a common experience for private jet passengers since they serve as a hub for passengers to access private flights and offer a much simpler travel experience than commercial travel.

When passengers are new to the world of private air travel, they may wonder, “What does FBO stand for?” or, “What is an FBO airport?”. Altogether, there is a lot to learn about these travel hubs.

What is an FBO?

FBO stands for “fixed-base operator.” Fixed base operators are aviation companies that are allowed by an airport to offer aviation services. An FBO offers services for both private flight passengers and operators. Passengers are able to take advantage of amenities like bathroom facilities and conference rooms, while flight operators have access to maintenance facilities, aircraft hangars and jet fuel.

Essentially, a fixed base operator is like a terminal of the airport dedicated solely to private jets. Private jet passengers pass through an FBO in order to access their private flights. Each one offers a waiting area and sometimes various other amenities.

How Does an FBO Work?

Fixed-base operators work very similarly to one of the main terminals of an airport, as they not only allow passengers to board their flight but also offer many services. When you prepare to board a private flight, you will enter the airport through the FBO, undergo a small security screening and then access the waiting area.

There are a variety of services that an FBO may offer. Including everything from a small waiting area to lounges, restaurants, shopping and more. Passengers also have access to great customer service and flight staff that are able to provide you with all of the services that you need for boarding and enjoying your flight.

Do All Airports Have FBOs?

Many airports allow access to private jets. However, not all airports have FBOs. In cases where there is no FBO, private jet charter operators work with a local handling company to manage arriving and departing flights.

Whether an airport has an FBO can often depend on how much private jet airline traffic passes through it. Some small airports may have no FBOs while a larger, busier airport may have multiple. Although, not every airport follows this rule, as some small airports may also have multiple operators. Discussing your travel plans with your jet charter company will help you plan your trip and learn more about the airports you travel through.

Benefits of FBO Airports for Passengers

Private flights offer extensive benefits to travelers on their own, but passing through an FBO instead of the main section of the airport only provides more convenience to passengers. From the ability to avoid crowds of commercial travelers in the main terminal to the wide range of services and amenities, there is a long list of benefits when traveling through an airport with an FBO. The following are some of the most significant advantages of flying through an FBO.

Stress-Free Boarding

When you pass through the main terminal of an airport, there is a lot that can go wrong. With long security lines and crowds of fellow travelers, the main terminal has many obstacles to overcome to reach your flight on time. Fortunately, passing through an FBO allows you to avoid the crowds entirely and enjoy a simpler, quicker check-in and boarding process. Even the security process takes significantly less time and does not involve extensive screenings or searches.

Unmatched Customer Service

When flying private, you can expect elite customer service, which is no different when passing through an FBO. Unlike the main portion of the airport, you have much more direct access to your flight staff and even have the chance to meet your pilot before the flight. The staff is always ready and willing to answer your questions.

Many FBOs also offer a concierge service that will help you get situated with transportation or lodging during your trip, all to help you enjoy a more stress-free travel experience.

Excellent Amenities

On top of a smooth boarding process, FBOs have plenty of great amenities to offer travelers. Every FBO is different in the specific amenities that they offer, but you can almost always expect comfortable lounge areas, clean bathroom facilities, convenient Wi-Fi and light refreshments. FBOs with more advanced amenities may offer conference rooms, showers, shops, restaurants and even entertainment rooms. An FBO offers you plenty of comforts and amenities so you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated as you travel.

Experienced Staff

FBOs give you access to the knowledge and expertise of fantastic flight crews as they employ some of the best in the business. These flight crews are ready to assist you as you board your flight and can provide you with in-flight meals, drinks and other comforts. The experienced flight crews are reliable and responsive, especially since they do not have dozens of other passengers to worry about.

A Refined Experience

With all of the amenities that FBOs offer, and their location away from the main terminal of the airport, private airline travelers can enjoy a calmer travel experience. As you wait for your flight, you can enjoy the services provided by the FBO, catch up on work or enjoy a chance to rest. When you pass through an FBO, you can focus on your needs rather than the noisy, hectic environment around you.

Who Chooses the FBO?

Although you choose your preferred airport when you fly, your charter operator generally selects the fixed base operator. Most private jet charter companies have partnerships or contracts with specific FBOs for refueling or working with flight staff. If you prefer to use a different FBO, some operators will allow you to switch, but there is often a significant surcharge included.

Do You Go Through Security at an FBO?

A security process is a natural part of any flight and is required at an FBO. However, the security process at an FBO is much quicker and much less invasive than passing through TSA. The security procedure typically involves only an ID check and a brief screening. Unlike a commercial flight experience, the security check usually takes only a few minutes.

Learn More About FBOs

To learn more about FBOs, fixed base operator services and planning your flight, contact Charter Flight Group today. Our 24/7 concierge service is available to help you understand your options when you fly and plan your route to best fit your travel plans. Flying with Charter Flight Group also gives you access to extensive amenities and some of the highest safety standards in the industry. Book your next trip with Charter Flight Group!  


Lindsey Begnaud


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