AIN FBO Survey 2011: The rest of the world

By Charles Alcock

After a year of jittery one-step-forward-one-step-backwards recovery in 2010, FBOs in Europe generally saw more sustained increases in traffic over the first quarter of 2011. Growth in other international markets outside the Americas was stronger, but in most cases only because it is building on a fairly low foundation.

Compared with one year ago when AIN was preparing last year’s special report on international FBOs, the outlook for those in the business aviation handling sector is certainly rosier this spring. The uptick in optimism for this niche business is manifest in a number of FBO acquisitions, partnerships and expansions around the world.

In Europe, FBO managers reported month-on-month traffic growth of between 5 and 10 percent. Until the first quarter of this year, the recovery still seemed patchy to many, with unpredictable swings in traffic making it harder than ever for handling operations to ensure they were providing the right level of service in a cost-effective way.

Growth rates in Asia and the Middle East have generally been higher, but in most cases that growth reflects the low starting point for business aviation in these locations. Expansion of traffic is certainly fueling FBO expansion in these potentially promising regions, but in countries such as China and India at least, the process of rolling out dedicated handling infrastructure for business aircraft is still far from straightforward.


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