Consistency and success often go hand-in-hand, and that’s the case with American Aero.
For a fifth consecutive year, the company, which operates out of Fort Worth’s Meacham International Airport, has been ranked as one of the best fixed base operators (FBO) in the world in the annual Aviation International News (AIN) FBO Reader Survey. AIN conducts the industry’s only annual independent, online evaluation of FBOs, which includes more than 4,500 operators worldwide.
FBOs are organizations granted the right by an airport to operate on the premises and provide aeronautical services such as fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction, and similar services.
“Remaining on the top of this list year after year reflects our commitment to continually raise the bar for the ground handling industry when it comes to customer service and safety,” said American Aero General Manager Angela Thurmond. “That means building relationships and exceeding expectations. We are always ready to make the impossible happen for our customers.”
The annual AIN survey is based on reviews by passengers, pilots, flight crews and dispatchers, who are asked to grade FBOs in five categories: pilot amenities, passenger amenities, customer service representatives, line service and facilities.
American Aero was founded in 2012, with the acquisition of Atlantic Aviation at Meacham. The FBO operated out of temporary quarters while designing and building a new state-of-the-art facility within the airport’s administration building.
The doors to the new American Aero facility opened in January, 2017. In its first year participating in the AIN survey in 2018, American Aero was ranked in the top five percent of FBOs worldwide, and No. 1 in DFW. In 2019, that ranking was repeated.
In 2020, American Aero leaped to the top of the pack – coming in as the No. 1 rated FBO in the world – causing AIN writer Curt Epstein to dub the FBO “a force to be reckoned with.”
That ranking was repeated in 2021. In 2022, the FBO missed a three-peat in the No. 1 spot by the slimmest of margins (.01%), but is still among the top three customer-ranked FBOs worldwide.
Perhaps even more significant for American Aero customers, the company consistently ranks best in Texas and in the U.S. South-Central region. For five consecutive years, an American Aero employee also made the list of the top customer service representatives in the world in the AIN “Above and Beyond” category.
This is the second recognition for Lindsey Leland, American Aero customer service manager and safety officer. Leland has worked at American Aero since 2015.
“Lindsey is the epitome of the American Aero spirit,” Thurmond said. “She is proactive and personable and consistently performs at the highest level to create a positive experience for our customers.”
American Aero handled over 20,000 operations (arriving and departing planes) in 2021.
Some of the reasons cited for honoring the FBO once again included:
- Exceeded expectations.
- Whatever it takes attitude.
- Above and beyond.
- Setting the bar for the industry.
American Aero holds the exclusive military contract at Meacham.
“Every day, service men and women come through the doors and express their appreciation for the warm and welcoming reception they receive. But in truth, it is our honor to be of service to them,” Thurmond said.
American Aero founder Robert M. Bass has spent years traveling the world and had a clear idea of the type of services and facilities available to private aviation travelers. When he purchased a failing FBO at Meacham, he had a vision of redefining the FBO experience for passengers and flight crew and creating an exceptional point-of-entry for private aviation travelers. That meant building a state-of-the art facility, creating a safety culture beyond industry standards, and investing in excellence.
“Aviation is about breaking barriers – exceeding limits and pushing beyond what has been done before. At American Aero, we are breaking barriers in customer service. We’re re-imagining the FBO experience and redefining service and safety.” Bass said.
“When you walk through our doors you feel the difference. We continue to raise the bar for private aviation handling and that will always set us apart,” Thurmond said.
Meacham opened in 1925. In 2017, the airport unveiled its new 85,000 square-foot administration building, with American Aero as the prime tenant and the only FBO in the new facility. The makeover of the administration building was funded primarily by the city of Fort Worth with a major investment by American Aero.
“Fort Worth’s commitment to rebuild the terminal and invest in upgrading the airport created the opportunity to partner with the city to make Meacham International Airport a major gateway,” Bass said. “We worked with the city to create a five-star experience for our tenants, the arriving and departing pilots, and their passengers.”
American Aero has also been lauded for its safety standards, which lead the industry. When the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) introduced a stringent new safety accreditation for business aviation ground handlers, American Aero became the first International Association for Business Aircraft Handlers certified FBO in the Western Hemisphere Association.
“Before takeoff, every flight crew meticulously plans its flight to maximize safety,” said American Aero Vice President Bob Agostino “In the same way, our FBO management and staff meticulously plan each movement to ensure that the aircraft and passengers we serve are as safe on the ground as they would be in the air.”
Aaron Barth, assistant airport director for the city of Fort Worth, noted that in the 1990s and 2000s, Meacham was in a lull with respect to development. He said it was a bit stagnant and had aging facilities.
“Thankfully, there was forethought by Mr. Bass and some others that saw some tremendous potential at Meacham. With the emergence of American Aero and the considerable amount of world class development they did at the airport, it changed the landscape and reputation in Fort Worth and beyond,” Barth said.
“It has always been the goal to make American Aero an attractive gateway for business and private aviation, both domestic and international,” said Bass. “In the end, American Aero reflects the values, environment, and welcoming spirit of Fort Worth. When you step off that plane and step through our doors, we are Fort Worth.”