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Monday
Dec192016

NBAA Convention Focus Stays on Safety for Operators and FBOs

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

With more than 27,000 attendees descending on Orlando, Fla., for the annual National Business Aviation Association convention Nov. 1-3, there were more than enough attractions and distractions to keep us busy for the duration of the show. 

Besides the more than 1000 exhibits catching our eye at the Orange County Convention Center plus the aircraft static display at Orlando Executive Airport, we had to constantly stay engaged with our main goal of getting a feel for what FBO operators and aircraft owners were thinking with regards to the state of the business aviation industry.

For the most part, the mood was light and guardedly optimistic. Our informal spot fuel sales survey of several FBOs showed some surprising results with several operators reporting above average aircraft movements the past few months. In fact, one operator indicated they uplifted a record amount of Jet-A fuel in October.

We attended several educational forums to get an idea of what aircraft operators are concentrating on to provide the highest level of safety while operating in the business aviation environment.  We also wanted to obtain a perspective on what aircraft operators are expecting from their FBO providers with regards to meeting safety standards.

Several aircraft operators we talked to who fly internationally are adhering to the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). They find that the process of adopting the standard, which includes incorporating a safety management system (SMS), changes the internal culture of a flight department to become more safety conscious.

To some, an active SMS program provides greater visibility to what’s going on within the safety culture. One operator said employees in the company have a great outlet with an SMS system in place to voice their concerns about safety issues because they see the results put into practice.

“It’s the greatest safety enhancement since TCAS,” one chief pilot said. “It makes us better and makes the company better.”

For FBOs, the International Standard for Business Aviation Handlers (IS-BAH) registration program is the equivalent to the IS-BAO program for aircraft operators. It also incorporates an SMS program and is designed to help enhance an internal safety culture.

We asked several aircraft operators that if two or more FBOs were in consideration for servicing their aircraft, and at least one was IS-BAH registered, would they select the IS-BAH registered FBO over the other choice or choices? They all indicated that an IS-BAH registered FBO would receive a more favorable consideration. 

To find out more about the IS-BAH registration process, please read our blog post: Is IS-BAH Right for Your Operation?  Also, another blog post might be helpful: Creating an SMS Environment a Plus for FBOs.

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

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© 2016 ABSG

Friday
Oct282016

Business Jets, FBO Fuel Sales and the Pending Election

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

Normally we stay well clear of the political arena when developing content for this blog. However, a U.S. presidential election year can sometimes create a negative effect on the economy, which can spill over into the business aircraft sector and potentially result in less FBO fuel sales.

Recently we talked to a few FBO owners and operators who participated in our Annual FBO Fuel Sales Survey and Forecast, and they indicated that fuel sales have leveled off a bit this past quarter.

We conduct our survey in January and release the results at the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference in February. In the survey, we ask FBOs not only to indicate their fuel sales in relative terms for the completed year, but also to forecast what their fuel sales will be for the year ahead.

AdvertisementOver the past several years, the forecast has held pretty close to the actual results. The forecast from our last survey indicated that the outlook for 2016 remains optimistic with more than 90 percent of respondents predicting the same or increased fuel sales this year compared to their 2015 results. Further, 58 percent of FBOs surveyed predicted an increase in fuel sales. Of those, 40 percent expect an increase of 1 to 4 percent; the remaining 18 percent forecast an increase of at least 5 to 8 percent.

The question is: Will this trend hold up for 2016, or will FBO fuel sales results mirror what some of the largest consumer companies have been experiencing during this election year?

In a report issued this month by Bloomberg, companies such as Yum! Brands, Gap, McDonald’s, Signet and others, blamed poor sales on the election process.

Here is an excerpt from the report:

To hear retail executives tell it, the battle for the presidency between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton is causing Americans to put off buying everything from romance novels at Barnes & Noble and jeans from the Gap to burritos at Yum! Brand Inc.’s Taco Bell. They might even be delaying wedding engagements, not good news for companies like Signet Jewelers Ltd.

“The preoccupation with this election is keeping them at home, glued to their TVs and at their desktops,” said Len Riggio, the founder and chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble Inc. This election is “unprecedented in terms of the fear, anger and frustration being experienced by the public.”

The question for our industry is: Do you feel the election has put a damper on the economy resulting in less FBO fuel sales? 

Please give us your answer in the space provided below.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

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© 2016 ABSG

Thursday
Sep222016

The Three Elements of a Successful FBO Internal Culture 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

Customers can get the feel of an FBO from the moment they make first contact, whether it's over the phone, website, email, social media or in person. The feel or impression they get is a direct reflection on the organization's internal culture, which is characterized by the tone and demeanor by which the FBO communicates and delivers its services.

Every FBO should have an idea of the image or impression its internal culture projects. Is it warm and friendly or cold and indifferent or perhaps somewhere in between?

Often times internal culture takes on the persona of the leadership of the company. As an example, let's look at Southwest Airlines. For many years, the company was led by Herb Kelleher, the colorful principal who fostered an internal culture that gave the industry no-frills, low-cost airfares characterized by peanuts — the only snack served in flight. If you've ever flown on Southwest, you would probably have the impression that the flight attendants are full of energy, have a lot of fun and love their job.

At its corporate headquarters at Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas, the same kind of culture exists as it does onboard the aircraft. The walls are filled with employee photos having fun, and its human resources department is called the People Department. This is further testament to Kelleher's operating philosophy of people first, customers second and shareholders third. He felt that if you treat your people well as a priority, then this will translate into happy employees, which create a team-spirited culture that proves to be customer centric.

For the FBO industry, many customers who are loyal to specific FBO brands indicate they are driven in their choices by three main internal cultural elements:

                1. A strong safety culture.

                2. A customer-centric or conscious culture.

                3. A team-spirited culture.

In talking and working with many FBOs through our FBO Success Seminarcustomer service training program and operational consulting initiatives we find the most successful FBOs incorporate these three internal cultural elements.

With the advent of the Safety Management System (SMS) and IS-BAH registration programs, FBOs are investing more and more in safety risk management. They are finding that aircraft operators, particularly those that fly internationally, are casting a discerning yet favorable eye towards FBOs that have instituted a strong safety culture.

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

SUBSCRIBE:

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© 2016 ABSG

Tuesday
Aug232016

NATA's New CSR Certification Program

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is breaking new ground by developing a CSR Certification program designed to strengthen the core competencies of key FBO personnel who seek to deliver a better customer service experience.

We believe this strategy is spot on. As we have written in previous blogs, FBOs who compete on customer service don't have to compete on fuel price in order to attract new customers. While some aircraft operators will always look for the lowest fuel price, the majority of loyal customers will choose FBOs that provide both a good value and a great customer service experience.

The goal of this new CSR certification program is to provide a course curriculum that results in a well-rounded FBO employee who is capable of being a team leader by demonstrating exceptional customer service skills.

Over the last two decades, NATA has led the industry with its popular Safety 1st Line Service Training curriculum. Just as FBOs don't condone accidents on the ramp, they are becoming more conscious of preventing customer service miscues that can cause a loyal customer to defect. This was the impetus for developing this new certificated program.

The new NATA CSR Certification Program contains five modules that need to be completed in order for an individual to become a Certified Customer Service Representative (CCSR). The first module is completed online and covers all the fundamentals of working in an FBO or aviation services industry environment including operational procedures and best practices.

The next four modules are completed at a two-day CSR Certification Workshop. We will be speaking during these workshops. The first workshop is scheduled for September 27-28 at the AirFlight, Inc., facility in Long Beach, Calif. This inaugural workshop costs $275 for NATA members and $400 for nonmembers. This price includes both the fundamental online course as well as the two-day workshop.

For more information, please visit the NATA website.

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

SUBSCRIBE:

Subscribe to the AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection Newsletter

© 2016 ABSG

Tuesday
Jul262016

Creating an SMS Environment a Plus for FBOs

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

Whether or not your FBO is planning on attaining an IS-BAH registration, creating an internal culture that embraces a Safety Management System (SMS) is highly recommended to help protect and enhance the value of your enterprise.

Because of heightened awareness by aircraft owners and operators to maintain a safe and secure environment both at home base and when traveling, more and more FBOs have increased their safety training. They find that SMS-integrated protocols set the tone for the internal culture while providing the desired structure, reporting systems and resolution procedures.

Not only does an effective SMS program help manage and mitigate risk, it can also improve your bottom line by lowering the rate of costly incidents involving aircraft on the ramp as well as nagging hangar rash problems.  In addition, an active SMS program helps build your insurance story which can lower your insurance premiums. As we teach in our NATA FBO Success Seminar, that's free money.

Over the past several years, various aviation sectors have come to embrace SMS including commercial airlines. The FAA has mandated that U.S. commercial airlines have SMS in place by 2018. In addition, many FAR Part 135 charter operations have also made SMS part of their operational environment.

So what's next for the aviation industry? In the not too distant future, you'll see airport authorities embracing SMS, especially at locations where commercial airlines operate. The FAA has already published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM)  for SMS in the airport area. 

For FBOs, this could be the writing on the wall, especially if you operate a facility at an airport where there is commercial traffic and even more so if you have airline fueling contracts and/or offer U.S Customs services as a Port of Entry. The airlines, and to a degree the airport authorities, will no doubt develop vetting procedures for vendors and suppliers of aviation services.

Creating SMS for any size FBO is not a formidable task and owners/operators should not be intimidated by the process. However, if you are going to get on the SMS bandwagon, make sure you do it in such a way so as to conform with IS-BAH standards in case you want to obtain an IS-BAH registration down the road. We work with many FBO clients who want us to help them frame their SMS to be IS-BAH compliant. Please refer to our previous blog where we talk about whether or not IS-BAH is right for your FBO.

One of the main things to remember when creating an SMS is to establish an internal culture where safety is a priority and anonymous hazard and incident reporting by employees is encouraged without retribution. In this way, the safety culture flourishes. 

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email: jenticknap@bellsouth.com, 404-867-5518; ronjacksongroup@gmail.com, 972-979-6566.

ABOUT THE BLOGGERS:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

SUBSCRIBE:

Subscribe to the AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection Newsletter

© 2016 ABSG