Wondering what is a FBO? Basically, it’s the primary provider of support services to general aviation operators at a public airport and is on land leased from the airport. In smaller airports serving general aviation in remote or small communities, the town itself may provide air services and operate the FBO facility. Most FBOs doing business at airports of high to moderate traffic volume are commercial organizations and are private or publicly held companies.
Within the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates some activities that may comprise an FBO such as the authorization or repair stations, flight training, and air taxi/air carrier services, but the overarching term “FBO” has no regulatory standards through the federal government. That said, the FAA has defined an FBO as “a commercial entity providing aeronautical services such as fueling, maintenance, storage, ground and flight instruction, etc., to the public.
Though the term fixed-base operator started in the United States, the term has become more common in the international aviation industry. The term (FBO) has not been officially defined as an international standard yet. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) publications such as Implementing the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap have been using the term leading to what may be an internationally recognized term globally.
Fixed-base operators provide a wide range of activities which may include:
- Sale of aviation fuel for aircrafts
- Line maintenance services for general aviation aircraft
- Air taxi and air charter flights
- Scheduled or nonscheduled air carrier services
- Pilot training
- Aircraft rental and sightseeing tours
- Aircraft sales and service
- Aircraft storage (tie-down or hangar space)
- Repair and aircraft maintenance
- Sale of aircraft parts
- Aerial photography
- Crop dusting locally
- Aerial advertising and aerial survey needs