Maintenance specialist unveils plans to open new FBO centres across country

Australian maintenance specialist Hawker Pacific is to expand its fixed-base operations (FBO) and charter business in a bid to establish a national network.

Hawker Pacific opened its first FBO at Sydney International airport in April last year following the exit from the market of Qantas Executive Handling in December 2002, which had left Execujet Australia as the sole business aviation handling service at the airport.

The company is now set to open the first FBO in Cairns, northern Queensland and has signed a deal with Brisbane airport to open a 490m2 (5,270ft2) facility in July. Douglas Hendry, general manager FBO and aircraft charter services for Hawker Pacific says these will be followed by other new FBOs across Australia – which has few business aviation facilities – until a national network is created.

"It's a strategic business for us as it feeds our other activities like aircraft sales, maintenance and charter," says Hendry. Hawker Pacific is investing A$400,000 ($310,000) in upgrading the maintenance facility at the FBO to accommodate more business aircraft. The company is also eyeing sites in Shanghai, Singapore and elsewhere across Asia.

Hendry says the business aviation market is too small in Australia to sustain large FBOs, with the principal cities connected by frequent scheduled air services. Instead, Hawker Pacific acts as regional supervisory agent for routing co-ordinators Jeppesen and Air Routing, which enables it to feed intercontinental flights into its facilities.

Hawker Pacific acquired charter operator Combined Aviation Services in mid-2003, which it now runs as Sydney Jet Charter from its Sydney airport base as well as from Melbourne International airport and Orange airport, southern New South Wales.

Hendry says the company has a managed fleet of 13 aircraft, including two Beechcraft 400s and two Cessna CitationJets and is poised to add a Dassault Falcon 2000EX, which will be based at the new Brisbane facility.

Hendry adds that large mining and mineral companies, long the main users of corporate aviation in Australia, are beginning to outsource flight departments to charter operators.


Source: Flight International