Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 10

FBO PROFILE
AUTHOR Joe Petrie

A

Forward Look INTO THE Past

Bent Wing Flight Services honors the roots of the Fernandina Beach
Municipal Airport while building a unique landmark on Amelia Island.
AS A pilot who lived on Amelia Island, Fla., Brian
Echard saw room for improvement at the local FBO
at Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. After retiring
from a career in health care in 2010, he continued
to explore the idea, which eventually led to him
pursuing and winning an RFP to run the FBO.
He then put in motion plans to
improve customer service and create a
unique facility that not only stood apart
from the traditional FBO terminal, but
also celebrated the roots of the airport.
Bent Wing Flight Services opened
its new $4.5 million terminal in October,
which isn't your typical airport building.
Flying away from traditional design, the
terminal is instead shaped like a F4U
Corsair.

Plantation Resort.
Jack Healan, a pilot and resident of
Amelia Island said he first started flying
into the airport in 1971, when there wasn't
even bathrooms available at the facility.
He said the old structure was essentially
a "shed next to a hangar," and wasn't very
inviting to visitors.
"Before when you were f lying in a
corporate jet and bringing executives in,
most of the time a car would meet the
plane and they wouldn't even come into
A need for change
the terminal," he said. "Now it's more
Echard said the old FBO was based in a
inviting and people are starting to come in
4,000 square feet concrete block hangar
and use the facilities instead of moving on."
that had little amenities for pilots or
The airport had about 47,000
passengers arriving at the facility. Traffic
operations in 2017. Since taking over
was stagnant at the airport, so better
FBO services in April 2018, Echard said
facilities and services were needed to
they've grown the fuel volume by about
compete with other FBOs at Jacksonville
35 percent, which he credits to the pricing
International Airport and Jacksonville
structure and customer service amenities
Executive Airport.
put in place along with enhanced
"It was not very operationally friendly," marketing efforts.
he said. "It had a small waiting room and
While the old facility was outdated,
a small break room and that was about it. Echard said it wasn't the first order of
It didn't have really any facilities for pilots." business when he took over the FBO.
Echard said about 70 percent of
He was even prepared to work out of a
dressed up temporary facility until a new
the business coming into the airport is
building was constructed.
fractional charter business. The longest
"I originally wanted to open a
runway is 5,300 feet and the largest
customer service driven FBO," he said.
aircraft coming in now are Gulfstream
G650s. There's a lot of business aircraft "A new terminal isn't going to provide
better customer service, so the philosophy
coming in for meetings at the Ritz
I wanted put in place was a customer
Carlton and the Omni Amelia Island

10 \ AIRPORTBUSINESS / JUNE/JULY 2019

focused FBO that would give the red
carpet service to incoming pilots, have
competitive pricing and give a different
level of service.
"The facilities needed some serious
updating and rep carpet service and
competitive fuel pricing while putting a
new face on the airport."
On top of adding services such as
better fuel pricing, Echard said the FBO
also added GPUs, a pilot lounge and
a Hertz rental service. It added to an
increase in fractional traffic, which had
been lost to Jacksonville International in
the past.
"Even though they were coming to
Amelia Island, the previous FBO didn't
support some of those services that NetJets
and other charter companies required,"
he said. "We're marketing to those guys
we've had a huge growth in that business."

A look to the past for
the future
Echard said the city of Fernandina Beach



Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Inside the Fence
Industry Update
A Forward Look Into the Past
The Rise of Secondary Airports
Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Find Success in Fuel Training
A Stream of New Revenue Management
Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport Guru
Legal Matters
Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 1
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 2
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 3
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 4
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 5
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Inside the Fence
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 7
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Industry Update
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 9
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Forward Look Into the Past
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 11
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 12
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 13
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - The Rise of Secondary Airports
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 15
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 17
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 18
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 19
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 20
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 21
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 22
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 23
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 24
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 25
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Find Success in Fuel Training
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 27
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 28
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 29
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Stream of New Revenue Management
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 31
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 32
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 33
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 35
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Airport Guru
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 37
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Legal Matters
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 39
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 41
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 42
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 43
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