It's the brand new, head-turning Learjet 45XR parked out front that gives it away. One of three ordered for a private charter fleet, its message is undeniable: this is not your everyday, family-run fixed base operator.
That multi-million dollar beauty sends a clear message: National Jets, Inc. is an FBO run by a family on the cutting edge. And it's been that way since the day the Boy family started their aviation business while World War II wound down.
Serving Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), National Jets was founded in 1945 by three brothers – James, Carl and Thomas Boy. Over the years the company has owned and operated some impressive aircraft, from a workhorse collection of DC-3, -4, -6 and -7s, to Convairs, Super Constellations and a flock of Learjets. To say this group has experience managing fleets is a bit of an understatement. They once flew more than 20 aircraft to distribute the Wall Street Journal coast to coast.
Nowadays, National Jets, Inc. – a full-service Phillips 66® Aviation-branded dealer – focuses its knowledge of fleet operations on executive air charter and a National Air Ambulance service that makes some 500 flights a year over North and Latin America and the Caribbean.
"It is part of our company DNA to provide best-in-class fleet management," says Russ Boy, Sr., Vice President/General Manager for National Jets. "We've been providing continuous on-demand charter service with well-equipped aircraft for 45-plus years."
The new Learjet 45XR is a case in point.
Two more 45XRs will be added to National's executive charter stable by 2013, replacing Learjet 35As, no slouch of an aircraft, either. It's a forward-thinking investment for an FBO, which, in an unusual move, is dedicating those aircraft solely for charter.
"National Jets is working to have one of the youngest operator-owned charter fleets in the region," explains Patrick Frawley, National Jets Sales Manager. "The Learjet 45XR was the obvious choice for our mission profile of cost-effective flights in the two- to three-hour range, with four to six passengers."
To build on-demand charter services, the company leverages its Fort Lauderdale location, which gives National Jets a strategic base to transport corporate executives, patients and military personal throughout the southern latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. For years they capitalized on their South Florida setting to build business by delivering countless tons of bulky cargo, ranging from large oil drilling equipment destined for South and Central America to fresh produce and refrigerated goods for a major grocery chain stocking stores throughout the Caribbean.
But this is an FBO that doesn't rest on its laurels. The new Learjet will complement what is one of the newer terminals in South Florida, one completed in 2010, says Boy. It is a well-appointed haven for pilots and passengers arriving or departing on long flights.
FBO operations are one of four National Jet subsidiaries that employ more than 100 associates.
National Jets Air Center handles the fixed base operations, with the terminal, 22,000 square feet of hangar and ramp space, and its on-site Phillips 66 Aviation fuel farm. A Part 145-certified aircraft maintenance and avionics repair station, National Jets services general aviation's most sophisticated aircraft, including Boeing Business Jets, Learjets, Gulfstreams, Falcons, Citations and Astra Jets.
"We've been a Phillips 66 Aviation dealer for 22 years," Boy says. "It's a decision that ties well to our vision, with pilot- and FBO-related programs that can help build business."
One of those programs is WingPoints®, which National Jets uses to reward repeat fuel purchases and build customer loyalty. The FBO is one of the top issuers of WingPoints, which are immediately redeemable online for debit or gift cards once issued with a fuel purchase.
Another subsidiary, National Jets Aircraft Management, offers private jet procurement and comprehensive management. Its services are holistic, offering flight crews, flight control, dispatch and anything else it takes to fly anywhere around the globe.
"We can set these aircraft up as revenue-generating charters for our customers by offering them under the National Jets Part 135 certificate," Boy explains. "That translates into opportunities to offset owners' operating costs."
Its Carolina Group evolves typical FBO management a step further. Holding the lease to 40 acres at Ft. Lauderdale's International Airport, the group manages and subleases developed and non-developed land, and ramp, hangar, warehouse and office space to companies like FedEx, which runs a Southeastern Florida sorting facility on the site.
The fourth subsidiary, National Air Ambulance took flight in 1976 when the Boy family's medical evacuation service became the first licensed air ambulance operator in Florida, flying for children's hospitals and the cruise lines that sailed Atlantic and Caribbean waters.
Today, National Jets flies patients, blood, organs, medicine, medical supplies, and doctors and nurses for hospitals, transplant centers, major insurance companies, the armed forces, cruise lines and travel assistance companies, as well as private individuals. Recently, the European Air Medical Institute's (EURAMI) handed its highest certification to National Jets, "Full Accreditation - With Special Care." It's a serious business, with each aircraft in National Jet's air ambulance fleet equipped with Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
All of that seems far removed from running a service station in 1945, when the roots for National Jet were planted. Yet, the company is still run by the Boy family. And Founder Thomas Boy still serves as Chairman and Director.
For National Jets and the Boy family, the FBO's new 45XR represents more than a high-powered Bombardier business jet. After all, National used its initial Leerjet purchase, back in the 1970s, to teach others how to embrace change. That's when National Jets became one of the first flight schools to train Vietnam fighter pilots coming home from the war for a future in corporate aviation.
For more information, visit www.nationaljets.com, or call the FBO's 24-hour live help hotline, (800) 327-3710.