FJC Ranked #8 for Top FBO's in the Country
“The facilities we’ve got in Fargo aren’t what you’d expect,” said Darren Hall, Fargo Jet Center’s (FJC) vice president of marketing. He’s come to expect the surprise of people landing at Hector International Airport (FAR), which serves a city of just 150,000 inhabitants. “It’s what you would expect if you were going to L.A. or Chicago or New York.” Because the upper Midwest airport boasts a 9,000-foot runway, 24-hour manned control tower and U.S. customs and a full-time crash rescue team (courtesy of the Air National Guard, which occupies part of the field) coupled with Fargo Jet Center’s FBO, one might be excused for mistaking it for one in a more cosmopolitan region.
Formed in 1995, the company competed against an existing provider that had served the airport for nearly two decades. FJC was initially supported by service contracts from its sister company Weather Modifications, which operates a worldwide fleet of atmospheric research aircraft. After several years of competition, the other provider on the field sold its facilities to FJC, which today is the sole aviation services company on the field.
FJC has an average of 55 movements per day and last year saw 23,000 passengers through its facility and had an increase of more than 13 percent in terms of jet-A gallons pumped over the previous year. “We certainly do a lot of business with aircraft coming to Fargo, but I would say a majority of our business is aircraft coming through Fargo and just doing a tech stop, going to Seattle or New York,” Hall told AIN. “When those people quit flying their airplanes we noticed that, but now we’ve noticed they are flying again because we’ve seen their quick turnarounds pick up in the last year.” Located on the great circle routes between the West Coast and Europe as well as Tokyo to the East Coast, the FBO at the “crossroads of the world” sees quite a bit of heavy iron such as Global Expresses and Gulfstreams.
Despite the quick turnarounds, the FBO’s staff still has time to show its stuff, according to Hall. “There’s a friendliness about the people who work here in taking care of people, not just airplanes. That makes our service a little bit different from somewhere else you may go, and that’s a Midwest thing. We really care about people and we want to take care of them, so we work hard at doing that, and we work hard at being professional at what we do.”
In addition to the approximately 170,000 sq ft of hangar space (more than half of which is heated) that currently houses nine jets and 15 turboprops, FJC also has maintenance and avionics shops, a charter department, flight school and aircraft sales division. In 2009 the company switched its fuel provider to Avfuel after a long affiliation with Texaco.