Manuel Romero- Vargas
Director General
Manny Aviation Services
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View from the Top

FBO Celebrates 20th Anniversary with IS-BAH Certification

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:54

With little room for error and the potential consequences of any mistake, safety is a cornerstone for any air operator. To strengthen health and safety standards, Manny Aviation Services is breaking new ground among Toluca airport operators by being the first to obtain the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) certification.

Based on ICAO’s principles for safety management systems, IS-BAH compiles a set of industry best practices for ground handlers. The certification is granted by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), an organization based in Canada. The IS-BAH is exclusively given to Business Aviation Handling Agencies (BAHA) also known as FBOs. Recognition from IBAC is globally recognized.

“We worked for over two years to achieve the IS-BAH safety regulation, which we finally obtained in December 2016. This made us the first ground-support coordination company in Mexico to obtain the certification,” says Manuel Romero-Vargas, Director General of Manny Aviation Services. Manny Aviation Services is a family company in its second generation. It provides a series of services ranging from customs and immigration clearance to ground transportation, security and ground transport. “We focus mainly on ground services, including car, limousine and armored-vehicle rental, hotel booking, in-flight catering and other security operations,” he adds.

At its core, Manny Aviation Services is an expert in charter jet and helicopter arrangements and in aviation law. The company has a side business called Manny’s Catering. According to Romero-Vargas, Manny Aviation Services is the preferred service provider for some government flights to Mexico. “We have managed flights for operators from many countries, including Russia, India, Europe, Kuwait and South America,” he says.

Romero-Vargas expects that the IS-BAH certification will be instrumental in the company’s continuous improvement. “The IS-BAH will allow us to provide better services to our current clients. 2017 marks our 20th anniversary and we expect this certification to be the first step in our growth for the next 20 years.” The company’s goals for this year, which include the continued provision of good services and keeping up with international standards, might seem modest, but Manny Aviation Services has big plans. “Our long-term goal is for Manny Aviation Services to have its own FBO in Toluca and later in other locations, such as San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. These are all significant destinations for our clients,” says Romero-Vargas.

In the short term, the company is focusing on consolidating its local operations and continuing to comply with IS-BAH standards. By the end of 2018, the company is required to reach the second stage of this certification, as IS-BAH audits are mandatory every two years. Requirements also change every six months, so the company will need to invest in staying up to date and training personnel. The company will also expand. “We are putting together a second office within Asertec’s hangar, which will incorporate dispatch services and a training room. Toluca is our base but we have teams in Los Cabos, Cancun, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro and Mexico City.”

Overall, 2016 was a good year for Manny Aviation Services. “We grew approximately 18 percent in revenue in comparison to 2015,” says Romero-Vargas. The company has a positive outlook for the future and aims to reach similar numbers in 2017. Romero-Vargas also expects this growing trend to permeate Toluca International Airport (AIT). “AIT is growing thanks to general aviation,” says Romero-Vargas, referring to executive and cargo operations. “We want to see more commercial airlines and connectivity from Toluca but it is impossible to forget the importance of general aviation to AIT’s operations.” Executive aviation is an important business development tool, explains Romero-Vargas, punning on the idiom, “no plane, no gain.”

The importance of executive aviation for Mexico’s economy is often overlooked but these travelers spend large amounts of money. Therefore, it is important for governmental organizations to support the sector and avoid corruption, says Romero-Vargas. He sees corruption as the only barrier to AIT’s growth. “The sector will continue expanding if corruption and security concerns can be addressed,” he says.