Juan José Simón
Director General Of
View from the Top

New Business Strategy for Expanding Mexican FBO

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 17:45

Q: How did SAE’s hangar operations perform last year?
A: Until 2018, hangar space demand was higher than it is today. The market has changed and FBOs must adapt to growing competition and innovate in customer service. SAE’s focus is to create personalized experiences for our customers. This has helped us maintain stable operations throughout the years. Our company’s core business relies on our newly refurbished fixed-based operator hangar, which handles around 15,000 operations a year. We pride ourselves on being the largest FBO at Toluca International Airport.
Q: How is SAE growing its business after 30 years in the market?
A: We have invested in the company’s infrastructure, expanding our fleet for jet rental services and increasing hangar capacity. We have also invested in a new and modern maintenance facility. In terms of space, we have a combined hangar capacity of over 8,700m2 and we have expanded our ramp space to approximately 7,000m2, giving us more efficient ground operations. We store over 45 aircraft and have 12 more under management.
Our business has always included aircraft storage, traffic and dispatch, air taxi rentals and aircraft management but we are starting a new business: a fractional model that works as a time share for airplanes with several customers. Aircraft ownership costs are exceedingly high but we have found customers that find value in dividing these costs between multiple partners. This helps in lowering cost per flight hour and makes the service more attractive to our customers.
Q: What is the typical profile of SAE’s clients?
A: SAE’s operations are focused both on business and pleasure. Our international clients usually come to Toluca for business. Nevertheless, we have noticed that our number of daily operations increases during the weekends to the most popular cities and beach resorts.
Q: What strategies is SAE implementing to remain the best option for its clients amid increased competition?
A: We are betting on our experience and human talent. The service provided by SAE in platform, ramp, traffic, dispatch and attention to clients cannot be matched by our competitors and our experience allows us to anticipate these needs and provide the best possible service. In 2017, we performed over 12,000 operations for an average of 33 operations per day. This is not a challenge due to the size of our platform, which allows us to perform up to seven operations simultaneously. This is a strong competitive advantage.
Q: What are SAE’s expectations for 2019?
A: We want to maintain our in-house clients and we are making significant efforts to attract more customers from abroad. Our objective is to grow the number of clients coming from abroad by 5 percent. This objective may be hard to reach because there is greater competition but we believe that with the service we offer we will achieve this goal.
Q: What elements could boost SAE’s performance as an FBO?
A: When it comes to general aviation, Toluca is among the largest airports in the world and Mexico’s most important airport for private aviation. Because our customs offices are saturated, flights tend to be delayed, which means that part of the attraction of having an executive airplane is diluted since our clients must arrive with a lot of time to spare or they may have to stand in line. The best way to approach this would be for FBOs to have their own customs offices, just like in the Acapulco and Monterrey airports. This strategy would boost the Toluca International Airport’s position as a leader in private aviation.