John Wayne Airport welcomes Clay Lacy Aviation FBO

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Clay Lacy Aviation has been awarded a 35-year lease at John Wayne Airport in California, US. The lease, which was awarded by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, is to build and operate a fixed base operation (FBO) to serve as a business gateway for Orange County.

Described as one of the most experienced and respected business aviation firms in the US, Clay Lacy was awarded the 15-acre leasehold to design, build and operate a full service FBO. The facility will feature more than 110,000 sq. ft. of hangarage, 42,000 sq. ft. of office space and a private terminal that incorporates the latest in sustainable design. The development will also include new facilities for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Air support Bureau and the Orange Coast College Aviation Science Department.

Having engaged with the local community and stakeholders, Scott Cutshall, SVP Business Operations at Clay Lacy Aviation explained that, “As a direct result of those conversations, we incorporated many features into our development that will be appreciated by airport users and the community,” he added.

Boosting employment for the local community the new FBO is expected to provide 180 high-paying jobs including openings for pilots, maintenance technicians, finance and accounting professionals, sales and marketing experts, hum resources and IT specialists.

Brian Kirkdoffer, President and CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation concluded: “As Orange County’s newest FBO, Clay Lacy Aviation will build world-class facilities, provide award-winning FBO services, created good-paying jobs, and will always be a good neighbour to the local community. This partnership will benefit the County, its residents and airport customers for decades to come.”

Waltzing Matilda Aviation expands operations into Ronald Reagan Airport

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The Transport Security Administration (TSA) has granted Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA) approval to operate its on-demand jet charter services into Washington DC’s Ronald Reagan Airport.

The move means significant improvement to convenience for WMA’s clients to the DC area, with the ability for future clients to avoid having to arrive at Dulles Airport. WMA believes this select accessibility will lead to a further uptick in its business to the DC area, which is deemed a major destination for Boston-based business travellers.

WMA has also announced it saw a record level of flight activity in July 2020 as it continues to rebound from COVID-19. CEO, John Thomas, said: “Our July charter revenues were over three times the level of July 2019, which has further cemented our position as the largest light to mid-sized aircraft jet charter operator based at Bedford. This increase has been partially fuelled by a strong resurgence in business-related travel.”

Avfuel delivers SAF to Atlantic Aviation at New Castle Airport

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Atlantic Aviation at New Castle Airport in Delaware, US has received a delivery of 7,300 gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Avfuel Corporation.

Following a number of demonstrations with FBOs, airports, OEMs and charter companies the delivery on 9 September marked the fuel supplier’s first such delivery for a corporate flight department.

Commenting on how Avfuel is excited to be expanding its portfolio, Avfuel’s VP of contract fuel, Jonathan Boyle said: “It’s indicative of the continued interest we’re seeing in sustainability measures throughout business aviation. We are appreciative of the Atlantic Aviation team and our loyal customer for their collaboration in this important demonstration. Avfuel is proud to partner with these operations as a step toward making sustainable aviation fuel more attainable.”

To tackle the greatest hurdle to SAF’s wider adoption – availability – Avfuel is raising awareness of the fuel with the hope of inspiring commitments to further encourage production. The company has a team working to source, test, blend and ship SAF for special offtake demonstrations and events for the business aviation community.

NBAA calls for responsible use of airport funds

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Following a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to permit the town of East Hampton in New York to use airport funds to pay for legal fees stemming from its unsuccessful effort to impose access restrictions at East Hampton Airport, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has expressed its disappointment.

NBAA maintains that the town’s use of airport revneue to pay for its legal fees is contrary to agency precedent, is bad policy, and at odds with congressional instructions.

“We are disappointed with the FAA’s decision,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Operators at East Hampton Airport were effectively double-charged in the fight for their right to use the airport. The town of East Hampton significantly raised the landing fees at the airport to generate additional revenue, at the same time that it was incurring the legal expenses associated with defending the unauthorised restrictions.

The underlying litigation responded to an attempt by the town of East Hampton to impose a series of noise and access restrictions at HTO. Ultimately, the federal courts agreed with NBAA and local aviation operators that the restrictions violated federal requirements, and they have since been lifted.

In its appeal to the FAA, NBAA stressed that East Hampton had been advised by its own counsel that the proposed restrictions were illegal, and that prior federal guidance had made clear that airport revenue can be used only for the benefit of an airport. NBAA stated that “the town had an explicit anti-airport and bad-faith agenda. The town openly refused to utilise the opportunities provided by, much less comply with, the applicable federal laws… the FAA is unlikely to ever have before it, in its own words, a clearer ‘unique’ case of the ‘abuse’ of airport accounts to fund impermissible legal expenditures.”

World Fuel Services welcomes Galaxy FBO to network

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World Fuel Services has added the Galaxy FBO at Houston William P. Hobby Airport to its network.

The state-of-the-art FBO opened in June and is located in the south section of Hobby Airport, at the end of Runway 4. It features two 38,000 square-foot hangars. Pilot and VIP lounges are available on the first floor, while additional parking, storage and office space adjacent to the hangars is also available for lease to prospected aviation-related tenants.

Tony Wright General Manager of Galaxy FBO said, “The new facility will provide visitors with an impressive gateway to Houston, and a great experience for the flight crew.” He also highlighted that when it reaches full capacity, the FBO is expected to add more than 30 new hires to its workforce.

Meanwhile, Steve Drzymalla, World Fuel’s Senior VP for Business Aviation Bulk Fuel, commented that Galaxy FBO’s “operational expertise, dedicated customer service and world-class facilities create a premium experience for anyone flying to Houston.”

Galaxy FBO operates three locations within the Greater Houston area, including an exclusive heliport in The Woodlands and at Conroe North Houston Regional Airport, as well as the newest location at Hobby.

Signature Flight Support acquires two Swiss FBO locations

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The world’s largest network of private aviation terminals, Signature Flight Support, has added two new locations to its European network, having acquired TAG Aviation’s FBO, SA and its fixed base operators (FBOs) at Geneva and Sion. The purchase represents Signature’s first foray into the Swiss private aviation sector.

Featuring three private passenger lounges, two crew rest areas, in addition to a small conference room, TAG’s facilities in Geneva’s general aviation terminal also provide Swiss and French customs clearance directly on site to arriving visitors. During the winter season de-icing is available and the FBS’s dedicated fuelling capabilities are capable of handling up to transport category aircraft.

The Sion facility is a complementary location encompassing a private terminal and hangar complex with on-site Swiss customs.

“Europe continues to be an area of strategic opportunity for our global business,” explained Mark Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer, Signature Aviation. “TAG Aviation’s tenured presence in Geneva presented an excellent means to enter the second busiest general aviation market in Europe, and its operations in Sion are a source of valuable seasonal traffic. We look forward to building on the extensive reputation for service excellence that TAG Aviation has cultivated.”

Signature Aviation sees traffic increase

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According to Signature Aviation, which operates the world’s largest FBO chain – Signature Flight Support, business aircraft activity continues to show an improving trend.

The company saw a 38% decline in revenues during the first six months of 2020 as a result of country lockdowns and travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In April the company noted a 77% reduction in activity year-on-year. However business aviation is now showing signs of recovery with May down an average of 58% from the same period in 2019. In June it was down just 32%.

Mark Johnstone, Signature Aviation’s CEO commented: “Since our AGM statement in mid-May, flight activity across our global network has continued to show an encouraging recovery and, in the US, with the support of the CARES Act, we have now called back all our furloughed staff. As we look forward, I remain confident in the resilience and potential of our market leading FBO business model, the quality of our unique network, the strength of our liquidity and therefore our ability to continue to invest in and grow our attractive and high return business.”

To further demonstrate the company’s positive outlook, Johnstone confirmed that Signature Aviation has recently reached an agreement to acquire two FBOs in Geneva and Sion in Switzerland. He added, “Finally, and as a precautionary measure given the macroeconomic uncertainties, we have secured a covenant waiver from our relationship banks for December 2020 and June 2o21.”

The company has also continued to invest growth capital during the COVID-19 period, recently opening its newly constructed Atlanta FBO, which has been built to LEED silver standard.

London Oxford Airport welcomes new Tamarck Aerospace facility

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Situated just outside the UK capital, London Oxford Airport is set to welcome a new European Installation Centre for Tamarack Aerospace, the manufacturer of Active Winglet Technology.

The new facility implements thec ompany’s long-held expansion goals and marks an exciting growth phase for Tamarack.

“We are very excited to be expanding into Europe, strengthening the business and being able to offer the same high level of service that our customers in the US love so much,” Nick Guida, CEO of Tamarack Aerospace said. “After a short period of building experience, our goal is to offer customers installations in just one week, which will be of significant benefit to mainly the charter market that exists here.”

Tamarack’s new facility will independently operate out of the Oxford Jet Maintenance International (JMI) facility. “We have had a great relationship with Tamarack Aerospace for a number of years, and love their innovative Active Winglet product,” Ed Griffith, director at JMI said. “We already carry out a range of maintenance on Citation 525 series aircraft at our brand new state-of-the-art 18,000ft facility, so this partnership is a great fit for us and our customers.”

Tamarack’s firs two customer installations are set to begin in late July 2020.

Steels up for Bombardier hangar at Biggin Hill

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Construction of Bombardier Aviation’s new 250,000 sq. ft hangar at London Biggin Hill Airport is now underway with the steels for the hangar going up.

As well as the state-of-the-art hangar, the facility will also comprise of a workshop, and office space and 650,000 sq.ft of apron area and surrounds.

“Construction of the hangar is continuing apace and it’s fantastic the steels are already being installed. The hangar will be able to house up to 14 Global 7500s at any one time and is a significant extension of Bombardier’s European customer support network at London Biggin Hill.”

The hangar’s construction contributes towards the dedicated business aviation hub’s ambitious target of generating 2,300 jobs at the airport by 2030.

Header image: From left to right: David Winstanley, CEO, London Biggin Hill Airport and Robert Walters, Commercial Director, London Biggin Hill Airport

SEA Prime and Signature Flight Support UK complete SFS Italy deal

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Signature Flight Support has acquired SEA Prime’s minority interest in Signature Flight Support Italy (SFS Italy).

Following its initial investment in SFS Italy in 2016 and having now acquired SEA Prime’s 40% minority interest, the deal means that Signature Flight Support now fully owns the Italian business.

Chiara Dorigotti, SEA Prime’s CEO, said: “We are glad to announce this deal with Signature Flight Support, which we see as the natural development of a successful 4-year partnership. SFS Italy will continue to operate at Milano Prime’s premises offering top quality services for customers and operators.”

Meanwhile, Mark Johnstone, CEO Signature Aviation, stated the acquisition shows “our commitment to growing our business in Italy and other key markets around the world.” He added, “We are proud to fully incorporate the Italian business into the Signature family and offer our customers premier choices for flight support services throughout the country. We are also thankful to SEA Prime for their strong partnership, which dates back to our entry into the Italian market back in 2016.”

SFS’s network in Italy is comprised of: FBOs at Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Rome -Ciampino. It also includes trip support arrangements at Bergamo, Catania, Florence, Naples, Palermo and Pisa. Additionally SFS maintains a Signature Select FBO partnership agreement at Venice Marco Polo.