Seizing Opportunities in Today’s Changing Business Aviation World

How are a changing mix of private aircraft owners and service users responding to spiraling operating costs? Matt Harris asks Benjamin Murray for Skyservice’s perspective...

Matt Harris  |  13th May 2024
    Back to Articles
    Matt Harris
    Matt Harris

    Matt Harris is Commissioning Editor for AvBuyer. He is an experienced General and Business Aviation...

    Read More
    How can bizjet owners offset spiraling operating costs

    With multiple locations across Canada and the United States, Skyservice has served the North American Business Aviation market for 38 years with a variety of offerings, including aircraft management, charter services, an aircraft brokerage service, and Fixed-Base Operations.

    In addition, the company is a TCCA-, EASA- and FAA-approved Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) provider and operates as an Authorized Service Facility for Bombardier, a Gulfstream Authorized Warranty Facility, a Dassault Falcon Authorized Service Center, and a HondaJet Authorized Service Center.

    Beginning life in 1986 with a single FBO in Montreal, the company has grown strategically over the decades to offer 12 FBO locations across Canada and the US today, with an additional FBO construction currently underway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    Intent on exploring ongoing opportunities for growth and investment across North America, the company has its eyes and ears firmly fixed on the current market trends.

    For example, the thirteenth FBO location will open at a time when, according to sources such as WingX Advance, Part 91 and Part 135 flying is flattening out following the ‘post-Covid-boom’. But Benjamin Murray (pictured left), President & CEO of Skyservice explains there’s more to building FBOs than merely cashing in on flight activity spikes when they happen.

    “The economic climate and world events like Covid-19 obviously have an impact on the volume of activity,” he says. “But companies that have the right FBO locations and service culture can maintain and grow their FBO activity over the longer term.”

    “Our choices for FBO locations have been based on the collective benefit to our total business and to our three business lines (aircraft management, maintenance, and FBO), as well as the value they provide to our customer base, and the community.”

    According to Murray, today’s FBO industry is evolving. Today FBOs are providing essential services to a wider mix of customers, including a higher proportion of leisure travellers. This has led to developments in the essential aviation ground support, hangar, and fueling services being offered around the world nowadays. 

    “The FBO providers that are managing this new mix of medical and rescue, business, and leisure travelers well – those who are able to adapt the best are the ones who are showing the strongest growth in the market today,” Murray adds.

    Fixing the Problem of Spiraling Aircraft Ownership Costs

    While the post-Covid era saw an influx of new users entering the Business Aviation arena, the aftermath of the pandemic also introduced supply chain difficulties impacting several areas of the industry.

    On top of this, rising interest rates, inflation and geopolitical situations around the world have combined to result in the cost of aircraft ownership rising sharply in the past couple of years.

    The cost of hiring crew, insurance and maintenance all play their part in the rising cost of aircraft ownership, as does fuel. But instead of forcing aircraft owners to sell their aircraft, it’s causing them to assess the way they operate, Murray reckons.

    In his opinion, “Today’s [rising] costs and limited skilled resources are increasing the awareness among aircraft owners of the opportunity to outsource the management of their aircraft and work with partners like Skyservice who can help lower the ownership costs.

    “Selecting a reputable organization that manages a strong fleet of aircraft and can provide full nose-to-tail service is valuable for ensuring expert advice and cost savings through economies of scale and scope,” he explains.

    For example, an aircraft management company can leverage favorable prices on fuel – which can account for as much as 50% of the operating costs – through bulk purchases, which they will ideally pass on to the aircraft owner. (So much the better if the aircraft management company happens to also be an FBO owner, as Skyservice is.)

    But fuel savings are just one aspect of potential cost savings for those looking at aircraft management as an option for reducing their ownership costs, Murray says.

    “Skyservice is a fully integrated business. Our business model provides aircraft management customers with added convenience and cost savings by consolidating all aircraft services under one roof across our network of locations.”

    He highlights how owners whose aircraft are placed in Skyservice’s aircraft management fleet receive priority service and benefit from cost reductions at each of the company’s locations, and across its business lines.

    As a result, and with an in-house aircraft sales and acquisition team available, far from seeing people put off by the growing cost of aircraft ownership, Murray says Skyservice is seeing several of its charter customers moving into aircraft ownership at this time.

    Some aircraft owners may choose to further defray operating costs by making their aircraft available for charter when they’re not using them – another area Skyservice can help with, according to Murray. And right now, the charter demand is strong.

    “Skyservice has around 70 aircraft in our fleet, approximately half of which are available for charter, ranging from Light Jets to Ultra-Long-Range Jets,” he says.

    As one of the largest aircraft charter companies in Canada, currently around 80% of charter flights Skyservice undertakes fly within Canada or between Canada and the US with key corridors including private jet rentals from Toronto to Miami, Toronto to Vancouver, and Montreal to New York.

    The fleet’s Ultra-Long-Range Jets stay active serving routes from Canada to Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

    In Summary...

    The ability to keep pace with evolving technology and customer needs, alongside continued investment has been essential to Skyservice’s businesses over the years, and will continue to be going forwards.

    “It’s the same for us and any other service provider in the Business Aviation marketplace,” Murray concludes. “The challenges and needs within this industry are in a constant state of flux – there is no room to stand still at any time.”

    And if the market-leading Business Aviation service providers are reading and responding to the market’s needs, business aircraft owners can rest assured that solutions are available to meet any changing needs they may have, as and when they arise.

    Read similar BizAv Market Insights on AvBuyer

    More information from:

    Related Articles



    Other Articles

    Cessna Citation Latitude
    Make offer
    United States - TX
    Bombardier Global 5000
    Deal pending
    United States - WA
    Cessna Citation Bravo
    Make offer
    United States - FL
    Cessna Citation XLS
    Please call
    United States - GA
    Bombardier Global 5000
    Please call
    Cessna Citation X
    Make offer
    United States - CO
    Bombardier Challenger 604
    Make offer
    South Africa
    loder image