US FBO operator XJet is upgrading one of its two facilities – at London Stansted – as it continues to target openings in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
The company, which was founded in 2007 and offers its customers a membership model, moved its headquarters from Denver to Dubai two years ago with the intention of launching FBOs in the region, where many of its upscale clients are based. However, plans announced at MEBAA 2014 to have these under way by 2015 have been thwarted so far, admits chief executive and founder Josh Stewart.
"We are still pushing for both. We believe this region needs our model," he says.
Meanwhile, XJet has been upgrading its Stansted operation, which it claims is the largest FBO in Europe. It includes the former Diamond hangar, capable of housing two Boeing 747s, that XJet acquired in 2014. The company is also adding a majilis lounge – targeted at a Middle Eastern clientele – to its passenger terminal.
The company launched its “seven-star membership scheme” with its hangar at Denver’s Centennial airport in 2007. Stewart says XJet’s philosophy was a reaction to the fact that FBOs in North America “had not changed their gas station business model in 70 years”.
Under XJet's business model, "anchor tenants" get near exclusive use of its facilities in return for a membership payment.