By Daiana Basanta, Marketing Lead at X-1FBO
Yes, fuel sales are still the most common profitable venue for FBOs and, according to NATA reports, fuel consumption is projected to grow 1.7% annually, forecasted to 2038. But how is General Aviation approaching this fuel demand in a cost-effective way…and where do FBOs stand?
Aircraft manufacturers have seen a rise in number of orders to meet the aircraft demand due to commercial flight restrictions. Given that new aircraft are becoming more fuel-efficient, aircraft operators are also leaning more on technology to create strategies that allow long-range flights to save on fuel. This of course can potentially affect FBOs’ higher margins on transient fuel sales in some scale. Luckily, cost-efficient technology is an investment trend projected to grow in the coming years not only for the key industry players.
FBOs have implemented cost-recovering strategies to adjust to the current environment and remain financially stable. These include a more real-estate approach, improving their facilities and quality of services. Other operators have focused on an into-plane model basis or partnered with other FBOs and ground handling companies to stay in business. High-volume FBOs have sought the need to charge their facilities fees regardless of fuel purchase. There is a good possibility that these counter measures will stay to shape the FBO business model, moving away from traditional ones. In this context, FBO technology is taking on a new urging sense to fully integrate their operation while saving money.
TAKING A PROACTIVE APPROACH
With other industry sectors readily investing in new technology, FBOs will also seek to stay up to date with new software solutions. The impact of advanced digital technologies that integrate all instances of the FBO operation can be tangible and measurable. These capabilities include:
One-stop software for all payment processing, fuel management, communications streamline, scheduling, and ramp operation’s needs
Cost and time-saving fuel automation
Digital contactless payment processing on the ramp
Mobile wallets for crew
Automated mobile notifications
Barcode 3rd party check-ins for car rental, catering, and car service providers
Flight tracking integration with main scheduling system
Smart location technology for hangar and parking arrangement
FBOs & THE FUTURE OF GA
There is a sense of urgency for FBOs to adopt new technologies that both improve their operation efficiency and are cost-effective. This is essential for FBOs to keep up with technology investments aircraft operators and manufacturers are making to accommodate a new wave of aircraft buyers, business and recreational travelers and well-informed pilots. Cloud-based technology with lower implementation costs will provide the solutions to the challenges FBOs face in a post-pandemic time.