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Wednesday
Feb152017

Kick the Tires, Light the Fires: FBO Industry Poised to Take off in 2017

At the Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference last week, we encountered nothing short of unbridled enthusiasm for an industry on the cusp of recovery after nearly a decade of depressed fuel sales, fluctuating fuel prices and consolidation.

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Tuesday
Feb072017

2016 FBO Fuel Sales Survey Shows Mixed Bag Results, Forecast for 2017 Is Very Bullish

Although FBO fuel sales were mixed in 2016, the industry widely expects sales to increase in 2017, according to the results of the Annual FBO Fuel Sales Survey released today by Aviation Business Strategies Group at the Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Thursday
Jan262017

How to Run a Better FBO in 2017

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

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average punching through the 20,000-point ceiling, a new president taking office and an economic engine that seems to be cranking out more horsepower, there is a lot of buzz going on within various U.S. business sectors, including the FBO industry, for a healthy recovery in 2017.

Recently we sent out our Annual FBO Fuel Sales Survey and early returns indicate that there is a new wave of optimism spreading across the country for a recovery in 2017.  The final results of our FBO Fuel Sales Survey, as well as our FBO Industry Forecast, will be released at the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, Feb. 7-10, Ft. Worth, Texas. For reference, here is the link to the 2016 survey

With all this good news coming in, here is a look at some successful business strategies we recommend for FBO owners and operators to think about in 2017.

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 1. Increase Operational Productivity
  a. Establish performance goals for customer service delivery,
  b. Measure the productivity of your line service department and maintenance activities.
  c. Increase fuel sales at point of connection.

2. Produce Better Financials
  a. Fine-tune your financial dashboard and obtain information you can act on.
  b. Conduct a market study to help establish better fuel margins.
  c. Measure your financial returns through cash flow analysis and financial ratios.

 3. Mitigate Risk

  a. Create a safety-minded culture.
  b. Invest in an employee training program such as NATA's Safety 1st program.
  c. Develop a strong safety management system (SMS).

4. Build Long-term, Profitable Customer Relationships
  a. Train all employees in good customer service practices.
  b. Empower employees to resolve customer issues at the point of transaction.
  c.  Provide consistent service which builds customer trust.

Along with these strategies, we recommend a continuing education program for the FBO owner, operator, manager and supervisor. Author Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about the habit of sharpening the saw, a metaphor for having a balanced program of self renewal.

An excellent source for continuing education and self renewal within the FBO industry is to attend the next NATA's FBO Success Seminar which will be held March 7-8 in New Orleans. These strategies and others will be discussed in more detail.

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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© 2017 ABSG

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.

SUBSCRIBE:

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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.

SUBSCRIBE:

Subscribe to the AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection Newsletter

© 2016 ABSG