What to Know About FBOs

We use the acronym FBO quite liberally when booking a trip, but not everyone knows exactly what it stands for. A Fixed base operator (FBO) is a term developed in the United States after the passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926. In common practice, an FBO is a primary provider of support services to private or general aviation. FBOs are free of the congestion and confinement of a commercial terminal, providing a more relaxed and private environment.

The History of FBOs:

In November 1918, after the end of World War I, civil aviation in the United States was unregulated and primarily made up of “barnstormers.” These transient pilots operated inexpensive military surplus aircraft, flying from city-to-city, often landing in farm fields on the outskirts of town, as airports were scarce.

The traveling aviators offered airplane rides, aerobatic flight demonstrations, and frequently collaborated as “Flying Circuses,” performing impromptu airshows for the townsfolk, and charging whatever the local economic conditions would allow. As a result, mechanics and early flight instructors moved around with the aircraft and had no established business in any one location.

With passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 and its resulting requirements in the licensing of pilots, aircraft maintenance requirements, and regulations in training standards, the transient nature of civil aviation was curtailed. The pilots and mechanics that made their living on the road began establishing permanent businesses, termed Fixed Base Operations. These airports quickly began popping up throughout the United States as a way to distinguish permanent businesses from the transient businesses common prior to 1926.

Today many FBO’s have sleek waiting areas, state-of-the-art conference rooms, flight planning facilities, pilot rest areas, automobile valet and rental services, and on-site customer service that will provide you with personal assistance.

Ultimately, the FBO provides fuel service. Today fuel prices are volatile and each operator has varying relationships with FBOs to ensure the best pricing. At FlyPrivate we work with each operator, leveraging our relationships, to provide you with the best pricing possible. At times this may entail the switch of an FBO in order to uphold this commitment to you and we appreciate your cooperation.

Let us help you with a Flight Quote Request and give you the peace of mind that comes when you partner with FlyPrivate. We look forward to your next trip and a visit to a new or a familiar FBO.

Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

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All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.


  1. Thanks for the post. A fixed-base operator is an organization granted the right by an airport authority to operate at the airport and provide aeronautical services.

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