The airport is one of the most vital elements in our air transportation system. A well equipped airport provides a variety of facilities for the aircraft and for crews and passengers. These include runways and taxiways, which may be lighted for day and night use; a terminal building with lounge areas for passengers, and possibly a restaurant and shops; automobile parking lots; ramp areas and hangars for aircraft storage; and maintenance shops for aircraft and avionics.
In the United States, there are about 13,000 airports and 4,000 heliports (landing sites for helicopters). About 5,000 of these landing facilities are used by the public. It may surprise you to learn that only about 650 airports are served by airlines; most of the Nation's airports are used by general aviation pilots and their aircraft. The atmosphere at these airports is usually a lot less hectic and pressured than the environment at a major airline facility.
Some airports are owned by municipalities, states, counties, and cities. Others are operated as privately, owned businesses.
Depending upon the size and scope of the airport operations, the FBO employs line persons, mechanics, avionics technicians, flight instructors, and aircraft sales persons. The FBO may also carry on a small aviation mechanics training operation, and if he or she is a licensed aviation mechanic, supervises the work of mechanics. Customer service personnel will often arrange for ground transportation and overnight accommodations for general aviation pilots and their passengers.
The FBO is essentially an entrepreneur; the opportunities for increased business and income depend upon his or her own initiative and ability to keep up with changes in aircraft, aircraft equipment, and services. The variety of activities in which an FBO can be involved offer some assurance of a stable income.
The FBO's place of business can be a small hangar or shop with adjoining office and perhaps a pilot's lounge. Or, it can be an elaborate series of hangars, shops, offices, classrooms, and showrooms. The hours are determined by the amount of time the FBO wants to devote to the business.
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
The requirements to become a fixed base operator are not clearly defined. Certainly an interest in aviation is basic. A pilot's license is not essential, but such training is useful since it provides a good understanding of the many functions of an FBO as well as contacts with pilots who may patronize the business.
Educational requirements vary depending on the position at the FBO.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Opportunities for Advancement
Aviation plays a prominent role in our economy and new opportunities will always be available. Today, larger airports are expanding and smaller "reliever" airports are being upgraded to serve general aviation traffic being relocated from congested airports. The introduction of low cost airlines is also playing a role in creating opportunities in the industry.
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Outlook for the Future
Air travel in the U.S. grew at a rapid pace until 2001, expanding from 172 million passenger enplanements in 1970 to nearly 615 million in 2000. However, over the next 3 years, a combination of factors, the events of September 11th, 2001, an economic recession, and other factors, combined to reduce traffic back to 1995 levels. After September 11, 2001, air travel was severely depressed. Nevertheless, air travel remains one of the most popular modes of transportation.
Despite a recent slowdown in passenger air travel, demographic and income trends indicate favorable conditions for leisure travel in the United States and abroad over the next decade. The aging of the population, in combination with growth of disposable income among the elderly, should increase the demand for air transportation services.
To locate educational facilities with programs related to this position, search Avjobs Aviation School Directory. The Avjobs Aviation School Directory makes researching and finding an aviation college, university, flight school or professional training facility simple.