There are 84 years' worth of reasons why the word "aviation" is nearly synonymous with the name "Cutter."
After all, founder William Cutter started Cutter Flying Service 84 years ago in New Mexico – back when general aviation was but a fledgling, the term "fixed base operator" was brand new, and the aviation department at Phillips Petroleum was barely a year old.
Few in general aviation can claim roots that go back to the industry's beginnings. But Cutter can, and today the aviation service provider features the longest stretch of continuous family-run management of any FBO in America.
It's appropriate then that this FBO chain happens to be the oldest branded dealer for another notable aviation pioneer, Phillips 66® Aviation. Cutter Aviation started selling Phillips 66 Aviation fuel in Albuquerque's West Mesa Airport in 1938 – at the beginning of what is now a nationwide network of more than 850 branded FBOs.
"Cutter Aviation and Phillips 66 Aviation are integral to the history and to the future of general aviation," says Rosemary Leone, Director, Programs Development, General Aviation for Phillips 66 Aviation. "The relationship with Cutter Aviation is one of our most treasured. Their longevity, great people and facilities, their commitment to a full customer service experience, are noteworthy.
"The fact that they are still run by the same family after eight decades is a great testimony to the strength of their vision."
Cutter's reach extends to eight major airports across the Southwest. There are Cutter facilities at Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) and Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT), Colorado Springs (COS), El Paso (ELP), San Antonio (SAT), Dallas-McKinney (TKI) and Albuquerque (ABQ).
Certainly, the brand's impact on aviation has soared well beyond the rural air charter business that began William P. Cutter's dream in 1928.
Serving far-flung towns, businesses and ranches strewn across the rough-hewn Southwest, Cutter beat back the Great Depression, becoming a Phillips 66 Aviation dealer in 1938, selling fuel, maintenance and aircraft to a region just beginning to hit its stride. For years, Route 66 had been revealing Albuquerque's charms as a semi-desert oasis to countless newcomers. Then the U.S. Army broke ground to build Kirtland Air Force Base in 1941 (originally Albuquerque Army Air Base). As with most FBOs, World War II stalled general aviation, but Cutter survived by training pilots for the military, many in gliders soaring silently over the northern edges of the Chihuahuan Desert. The U.S. Navy designated Cutter as a Naval Air Training School as part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program.
Strategically, the family running Cutter Aviation does not believe in limiting is services. From that day 74 years ago when the family first joined Phillips 66, Cutter always sold more than just fuel. It's a philosophy that believes in providing the complete package to the widest range of customers.
But it may be more accurate to say it's just good, old-fashioned family hospitality to make sure all your guests' needs are taken care of. In fact, words like friends, friendship and family are an integral part of Cutter Aviation's mission and values statements, like this example: "Our mission is to earn respect by creating lasting friendships through providing the ultimate service experience for our customers…"
One way Cutter Aviation fosters lasting relationships is by vigorously promoting a program that rewards repeat fuel purchases – the WingPoints® Rewards Card from Phillips 66 Aviation.
"Out of hundreds of participating FBOs, Cutter Aviation consistently ranks at the top of those issuing reward points," explains Leone. "Pilots appreciate getting rewarded for their loyalty. Our FBOs that really get behind the WingPoints program believe in its potential to build business."
Cutter is one of those FBOs. Its friendly customer service representatives make a point of promoting the program to customers and encouraging sign-up. It's something that offers customers immediate gratification because WingPoints accrue as soon as fuel is purchased, and points are easily redeemed online for gift or debit cards.
To keep their friends safe, Cutter Aviation also invests in NATA Safety 1st training for its line crews and has SMS-qualified professionals on staff.
One of the strongest relationships Cutter has cultivated over the years is with aircraft manufacturers. If geography and diversity are benchmarks to judge professional friendships, Cutter has indeed lived up to its mission statement.
Their authorized aircraft dealership regions extend beyond their Southwestern home-base to encompass Hawaii, Southern California and Nevada, and northeast to Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. Cutter Aviation is an authorized dealer for Daher-Socata, Piper, American Champion and HondaJet. Selling everything from the advanced light jets to aerobatic planes, Cutter again stays true to its strategy of offering something for everyone.
Last fall, GE Aviation named five Cutter FBOs (ABQ, DVT, PHX, SAT, TKI) as authorized service centers for M601 and H80 turboprop engines. The GE relationship adds one more layer to Cutter's wide-ranging expertise in maintenance and avionics.
Many companies growing as large as Cutter Aviation find it challenging to keep a family atmosphere going. But for a company that's done it successfully over eight decades, treating employees as family and customers as friends is just part of the corporate DNA.
As a pilot remarked near the Cutter booth at the 2011 NBAA convention in Las Vegas, "It's just one of those places where you feel welcome." And then he sat down in a leather chair to relax, while his shoes were shined gratis by a smiling crew in the Cutter booth. "This is what I'm talking about," the pilot said.For more information, visit www.cutteraviation.com.