AirFlite is evidence that you don’t need a brand-new facility to achieve high recognition by customers. The Southern California FBO this year garnered the highest overall score in the history of the AIN FBO survey. Perennially a highly rated FBO, the company has been in the same building at Long Beach Airport for the past 22 years, yet it shared the top score for facilities in this year’s survey, testimony to the care and upkeep the terminal receives. “It’s a continual remodeling cycle,” explained general manager John Tary, who noted that the company last year updated its two conference rooms, which seat 12 and 25, respectively, adding audiovisual capabilities. Slated for this year is a $100,000 redesign of the FBO’s front desk. AirFlite’s mission statement reads, in part, “to deliver a superior, innovative, and continually improving customer experience,” and its top score of 9.7 in passenger amenities makes it clear that our survey respondents believe the facility hits the mark. The company strives to make sure its terminal is equipped with the latest passenger conveniences, from wireless printers that can be accessed by customers’ portable devices, to strategically located charging stations for those devices. “We try to keep on the edge of what’s out there,” Tary told AIN.
As a founding member of World Fuel’s Air Elite network, the company enthusiastically participates in network sponsored programs such as Ritz-Carlton training for its customer service representatives, which it hopes will raise its impressive 9.6 CSR score even higher. Owned by Toyota, AirFlite is also home to the carmaker’s North American flight department, of which Tary is a member as a Gulfstream G550- and GIV-rated pilot. In his spare time he flies around California in his personal light aircraft, making sure to visit other FBOs along the way and to look around. “It’s always good to keep an eye on the competition,” he noted. “We’re not always the first creative ones to get it, but if we see a good idea that we can implement, we want to do that.” The addition of Aircare Solutions as a major tenant and its Southern California aircrew training center last summer exposed the location to an even wider range of pilots. While the company reported flat jet fuel sales in the first half of last year, it noticed a definite increase in traffic in the second half, finishing the year with an overall sales volume of approximately 1.2 million gallons. The FBO handles virtually anything that flies, from advertising blimps to news helicopters to professional sports charter airliners to massive Antonov freighters. It claims 45 percent of GA jet fuel sales at the airport.