Regional Jet Center: Fayetteville, Arkansas & Private Jets
Regional Jet Center: Fayetteville, Arkansas & Private Jets
In any business, profit is the ultimate goal. Customers provide the profit, and returning customers offer a perpetual income source that can keep a business afloat—and even incredibly profitable. The nature of aviation businesses require a lot of capital to keep running. Often, companies rely on extensive advertising campaigns and name recognition. These companies can, more often than not, sell incredible volumes of sub-par product but remain in business because of the value of their name. Regional Jet Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas has a unique challenge. The average person has not heard of their company nor will use their services. Yet they need to make a lot of money. They are a specialized business with large expenses and not a lot of name recognition. What do they do? And how are they still around?
First off, a discussion on how the company makes money should be separated from the perks offered. Open twenty-four hours a day, one of the first things a customer will recognize is the quick response by a very qualified line crew that will fill up your airplane with either Aviation 100LL or Jet-A fuel. There is no airplane this crew cannot fill up and by filling an airplane up with fuel brings in revenue. A common Cessna Citation X, with a fuel capacity of 12931 pounds will fetch nearly a $10,000.00 price tag just to fuel it up for just one airplane! (Cessna, 2009)
The latest figures for Fayetteville Airport report aircraft operations at 119/day. With 53% being air taxi operations, and 11% being transient aircraft operations (Airnav.com, 2009) , even if only half of those airplanes made use of Jet Center's services, and even if 25% of those were jets of comparable size, and if of those jets only needed half of their tanks filled, we're still looking at a gross revenue of $74,375.00 per day. This is not including the non-jet aircraft operations that can still be a significant consumer of aviation fuel. In essence, this is a very, very conservative estimate.
Another service offered is a rented hangar. The following is from the FBO's website concerning the hangar:
KXNA in Northwest Arkansas
-160' x 200' Heated Hangar
-State of the Art Foam Fire Suppression System
-Door 116' x 36'
-Tail notch could increase door height to 40'
-Large adjoining ramp apron
-Direct Airline Flights to LAX, SLC, DEN, DFW, ORD, STL, LGA, CLT, IAH, MIA, MEM, CVG, DCA, MSP, EWR, & ATL
-Could be added onto with a Long-Term Lease” (Regional Jet Center, [RJC], 2009)
Not only is the airplane kept out of the elements by a roof, but frost is eliminated due to the heat, the airplane is protected by a fire suppression system. The option for a long term lease is available. An interview with Tim Thompson from the FBO offered some prices for renting the hangar. I was told that the hangar is leased depending on the aircraft size and how long they plan on occupying the space. The same Cessna Citation X would lease the space for $300.00/day. Comparably, a small single engine airplane will enjoy the safe service of the hangar for near $40.00/ day. According to Thompson, about 3-5 airplanes occupy the hangar at a time, around two being large jets. Another conservative estimate can therefore be reached. If the hangar is leased every day in a month, and two are jets, and two are smaller airplanes, then in one conservative month, the Jet Center can collect leasing fees of over $21,000.00/ month. Nearly a quarter of a million a year. Also according to Thompson, during times of inclimate weather, corporate meetings of Walmart (based in nearby Bentonville), and times of other high traffic, that hangar houses many more aircraft. In a bad month they make our estimate of $21,000.00 in leasing fees. (Jackson, 2009)
One more service to be mentioned is the maintenance done on site. Advertised is a mechanic on call 24/7. Maintenance is never an issue of 'if'. When flying in to Fayetteville, the following maintenance can be serviced. The following is advertised from their website:
“Mechanic on call, 24/7
Light Aircraft Servicing for most piston engine aircrafts
Oil changes while you wait. Oil analysis on request.
Nitrogen Service, Accumulators, Struts, Tires
Spark Plug Cleaning, Inspections
Cylinder Replacement, (O/H Available)
Piston Engine Removal and Installation (O/H Available)
100 hr Inspections
Annual Inspections, on Request (Allow 2 weeks for Annual Inspections)
Minor Repair of Composites and Fabric
Instrument Removal and Installation
We carry most major brands of Piston and Turbine Oil,
all Champion Oil Filters,
Oil Analysis Kits,
Most lubricants (LPS, Corrosion X, and Aeroshell grease),
cleaning supplies for your aircraft (Aviation Simple Green, and Plexus Polish),
We stock oil-screen crush washers for most Lycoming, and Continental Engines,
Spark plugs for most piston aircraft
Gami Injector Dealer
Most parts available next day for FAST Turn Around times” (RJC, 2009)
As with any mechanical industry, maintenance is a great way to earn money. Although estimates are not available for the services rendered by mechanics (it is all relative of what needs to be done), it should be noted that mechanics and their shops do well-surpass their cost. The more services provided adds to the credibility and convenience of a company.
Services as a Result of Profitability
It should be well understood that the FBO does very well and enjoys a positive net revenue. Many companies pay out such surplus as dividends, bonuses, or added investments. Regional Jet Center's brick-and-mortar structure is evidence of wise investing in customer comfort. This in turn does maximize profitability as described in the next section.
Apart from what the company can charge their customers, there are great amenities that enhance the customer experience at this FBO than at any other. For example: It is not commonly heard of to have a free room for your pilots to sleep in. Often they are required to go to hotels outside of the airport and pay themselves to sleep. Small rooms with twin beds provide an adequate resting space for pilots to remain rested and alert. When not sleeping, pilots and crew can also enjoy a lounge with a television and comfortable recliners, a full-service gym (also with television), and even a game room with a billiards table and a microwave. It is these less-common amenities that bring pilots back to the FBO time and time again.
For the passengers on the airplane the free amenities do not go unnoticed. A passenger lounge with comfortable furniture and luxurious feel allow for a relaxing experience even after a long flight. Full-access wireless Internet is routed throughout all rooms. Conference rooms on official-looking executive tables and chairs are available to converse whilst saving time. Impeccable bathrooms and innovative fountains facilitate in customer satisfaction because it seems to have a calming effect on passengers even after long flights—probably following the inevitable delays.
It is often quoted as cliché, but a good experience is shared less often then a bad experience. It seems no wonder, then, that Regional Jet Center strives to eliminate every single possibility of a bad experience. In full study of this fixed based operator, I have only found one complaint. The complaint is that it is only a mid-American chain. I guess this is why it is only called a 'regional' Jet Center.
It would be unfair to the reader if they left without an explanation as to why this FBO was chosen as the topic. After all, I own stock in another national FBO chain and would probably serve myself well to study that one. However, I have been to this FBO personally in my travels and found my experience with their customer service interestingly conducive to write about in this paper.
Early on in my training I was splitting hours with another pilot friend of mine. We were approaching Fayetteville, Arkansas from the north. After some weather diversions we found it appropriate to land in Fayetteville, check some updated weather, and then fly back to Oklahoma to stay the night. We had more than sufficient fuel to get to Oklahoma so refueling didn't seem like an economically feasible option. When we landed our small light-sport airplane we were greeted with a professional line crewman who pointed us to their weather and flight planning room. Although we didn't arrive on a jet, it felt as though we did. We told them we didn't need any fuel at the time and weren't sure if we were even staying very long. Once in the flight planning room a well-dressed man approached us and asked if we were hungry. We actually hadn't eaten in a while but we didn't want to impose. The man could tell our anguish and told us there were free hot dogs and soda in the game room. We entered the game room, ate hot dogs, played pool, drank soda and even enjoyed some cookies. Our discussion amongst each other was that of a little guilt. How could we, even without giving our patronage, justify enjoying ourselves so much? When we found we could continue to Oklahoma we thanked the receptionist (surprisingly friendly for being so early in the morning) and she let us go on our way. I told the lineman that the customer service at his FBO was the best I had ever encountered and if I was ever in Arkansas I would make it a point to divert and land there. He smiled and pointed us to our newly-washed airplane.
The Fayetteville Jet Center's customer service is so good, you feel guilty. You almost feel like you're taking advantage of them and they are ready and willing to help. It is for this reason I suppose, that I have chosen them to write about. It was pertinent to have an article on customer service when I had an experience that needed to be shared. If anything, to alleviate my guilt.
AirNav, (2009). Retrieved April, 2009, from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Fayetteville/Springdale, Arkansas, USA Web site: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KXNA
Cessna, (2009). Retrieved April, 2009, from Aircraft Fast Facts Web site: http://www.cessna.com/news/fast-facts.html
Regional Jet Center, (2009). Hangar for Lease. Retrieved April, 2009, from Regional Jet Center Web site: http://websmart66.net/cgi-bin/p/w66p-custom.cgi?d=regional-jet-centerxna&id=421
Thompson, Tim. (April, 2009). Personal interview.
Jet Center and Private Jets
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