When the summer winds down and the weather grows brisk, those that like it hot descend on Florida to take advantage of the white sand beaches, sunshine and weather that never seems to tire of being picture perfect, besides the occasional rain shower. Located at Opa-locka Executive Airport (KOPF) is Fontainebleau Aviation (Fontainebleau), a Phillips 66®-branded dealer that knows a thing or two about the pursuit of perfection.
Just minutes away from South Beach, Fontainebleau caters to jet setters who range from professional athletes, rock stars and A-list actors and directors, to travelers who simply want to experience the Fontainebleau difference. No matter what their background, travelers can expect the "Fontainebleau difference" —phenomenal service with a personalized touch from the moment they touchdown at Fontainebleau.
"The Fontainebleau difference embodies the South Beach experience from the moment you arrive at the airport," said General Manager Bobby D. Courtney. "It's the energy, it's the glitz and glamorous lifestyle, and it's the expectations of receiving best-in-class service. Our staff emulates the characteristics that make South Florida such a unique destination. They're hip and modern but with the know-how of any industry expert."
A brand synonymous with luxury
Even though the FBO is only two years old, the iconic Fontainebleau name has been floating around South Florida's shores since 1954. The Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel is a landmark oceanfront property that sits comfortably on Collins Avenue, in the heart of Millionaire's Row. It's considered one of the most luxurious and historically significant hotels on Miami Beach. The Soffer family, who own the lavish accommodations, wished to extend their brand to incorporate aviation, and in 2012 the Fontainebleau FBO was born.
After transitioning from a private hangar to an FBO in 2012, the facility experienced rapid growth and increased jet traffic. A fuel farm was purchased, and in the following year a relationship with Phillips 66 was established. Fontainebleau can now control the quality and quantity of fuel it provides to its customers, which comes in handy with the consistent, bustling activity. A typical day servicing 12 airplanes has given way to an average of 30 flights coming and going daily. Today, the FBO never seems to experience an offseason lull. Luckily, the facility's planned major expansion will more than handle the additional air traffic.
Plans to break ground are scheduled for the first quarter of 2015 and include expanding the facility to an additional 85,000 square feet, two 35,000 square feet hangars and 25,000 square feet of supplemental office space. Additionally, a 150 x 75 foot-wide canopy will be added that will be able to handle the monumental size of a Global 7000 business aircraft.
Quality Manager Jason Sahl has been around the FBO block, working in aviation facilities in Kansas and Missouri before being recruited to Fontainebleau. He handles the Phillips 66 fuel, including ordering, receiving, fuel testing in tanks, maintaining all fuel equipment and overseeing training for line service. He sees Fontainebleau as an FBO with staying power.
"For me, what sets us apart is the support from management and ownership to consistently improve," he said. "[Fontainebleau] is transforming and transitioning. Our staff is always looking to make improvements to better our company and more importantly our clients."
Convenience from the moment you arrive
When arriving at the Opa-locka Executive Airport, passengers are immediately greeted by the Fontainebleau name. The FBO's location is ideal, right at the entrance to the airport which makes being picked up and dropped off ultra-easy.
Another convenience is the customized customer service for those who are traveling internationally. Fontainebleau staff has representatives available at customs to walk passengers through the sometimes tedious process. That extra service step Fontainebleau takes is just one of the many above and beyond customer service offerings that put this facility on the elite FBO map.
"One thing that drives me, and the one thing I can control is the service we provide," said Guy Markley, Manager of Services. "That's my goal and that's what sets us apart. The ultimate compliment is for everyone else [other FBOs] to mimic our style and how we do things."
The Fontainebleau family, also known as Team Bleau, will happily accommodate any reasonable concierge request, and admittedly, a realistic request at Fontainebleau is probably considered out of the question at other FBOs around the country. For instance, travelers who require a high-end rental car with the street credit to cruise the streets of Miami in proper style can step out of their jet and into a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW, or Mercedes.
South Florida native Giselle Hernandez serves as Customer Service Manager and runs the front desk operations and the enthusiasm for her job is palpable. She and her team greet all customers with big smiles and friendly hellos. Giselle likes to make all clientele feel like they just arrived home. "I enjoy the customer engagement; It keeps me going," she said. "Knowing that [our regular customers] come back, is very gratifying; it's a gift."
Claudia Morejon, Sales and Marketing Manager, knows a thing or two about the essential nature of communication. With a degree in early childhood education, Claudia uses the skills obtained from her degree, seemingly miles away from the aviation industry, and uses them to represent and communicate the Fontainebleau brand. Claudia is leading the charge as the FBO evolves its identity and expands its offerings to satisfy the needs of its growing customer base. For example, an app is in the works that will make communication between travelers and the FBO that much more accessible.
Available for Apple or Android customers, the free online tool will allow travelers to easily request their personalized services, including aircraft fueling, maintenance, and detailing services from the comfort of their smart phone. It's just another perk available to Fontainebleau customers.
Keeping it in the Fontainebleau family
Another incentive of flying famously with Fontainebleau is the special offers made available to customers at its sister companies. In addition to booking accommodations at The Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, Team Bleau can also schedule a tee time at Turnberry Isle Miami, an 18-hole legendary golf course and resort. Or those travelers experiencing a bout of jet lag can exchange their wrinkled travel clothes for a plush robe, and sip cucumber-infused water during a stress-relieving spa day.
Additionally, travelers can take advantage of a free shuttle service to the Aventura Mall. Another Fontainebleau sister company, the high-end, premier shopping experience includes stores like Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Dior and more. The only problem? Making sure the jet has room for the additional baggage.
For more information about Fontainebleau Aviation or any of its partner companies, please visit the recently revamped website at fontainebleauaviation.com.