An hour from Manhattan, and even less to Philadelphia, the capitol of New Jersey is as strategic today as it was when General George Washington crossed an icy, storm-tossed Delaware River to surprise the British and their German mercenaries in the Battle of Trenton.
Braving floating chunks of ship-sinking ice, biting sleet and furious winds, the revolutionary troops would have appreciated the conveniences nurtured by Ronson Aviation at Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN), and enjoyed by a host of Fortune 500 companies at this Phillips 66® Aviation-branded dealer.
Holding down a location that is as strategic now as it was 236 years ago, Ronson Aviation – the sole fixed base operator at Trenton-Mercer Airport – has been serving the nation's top pharmaceutical and packaged goods firms, plus government professionals flying into New Jersey's state capitol, for nearly four decades.
"I tell customers we're in the service business and if we don't provide service we are out of business." explains Wolcott Blair, General Manager for Ronson Aviation.
It's a service mantra that starts with anticipation and ends with appreciation.
"We pre-think the customer's needs," Blair explains. "This is particularly effective when a crew arrives, because we already know what they want. We listen when they make their reservation. And then we ask 'What can we do to help you be successful?'
"Since we've anticipated their needs, our customers don't ask again, they confirm. When the doors to the aircraft open, we tell them 'Here's what we have for you, is there anything else we can do?'"
Nurturing aviation's future
Ronson Aviation is also "pre-thinking" what the aviation industry needs. Since 2004 the FBO has helped raise a staggering $131,000 in scholarships to help students pursue aviation careers.
Last year, Ronson Aviation's annual golf tournament raised $18,000 in aviation scholarships, sending six students from the Trenton region to school this fall with $3,000 individual grants.
"This is one of the big things we do in Trenton," says Blair. "It's successful, because of the effort we make to get sponsors and because of an unusual dedication by our local community to support the future of aviation."
Topping off its annual golf fundraiser, Ronson Aviation sought and received six named scholarship donations totaling $6,000 from Coventry Financial, C&S Engineering, Gulfstream, Sikorsky Aircraft, Sunnyfield Aviation Charter, and Johnson & Johnson. And that's not all. Flight Safety donated an initial King Air 200 SIC training for a graduating student – something it's done several years running.
Making travel uneventful
Happily sitting outside the congested, Class B Airspace of the major Philadelphia and New York airports, Ronson Aviation is a place within easy striking distance of some of the globe's top centers of commerce. About 10 percent of the nation's population lives within a 75-mile radius of the FBO.
Blair knows his niche, and that's anyone whose final destination is near the I-95 corridor stretching from New York to Philadelphia. Blair markets strategically, sending letters to potential customers, noting that they landed at another airport, but it might be worth calling Ronson Aviation to see if they could expedite future travel.
"We might be 10 minutes closer to where they need to go and they just don't know it," says Blair. "And if we're not, we'll tell them."
Another service focus for Ronson Aviation is to make the change from flying in an airplane to hitting the road as seamless as possible.
"It's really the one thing we can control," Blair says. "We don't control the weather or the flight, but we can control the transition from the aircraft to ground transportation. When we succeed at making that transition seamless, it makes business travel uneventful. That's the best experience, because then it just happens for the customer."
To that end, Ronson's customers enjoy plane-side passenger pickup and drop-off by chauffeured ground transportation or private vehicles escorted by FBO team members.
Then there is the on-site 24/7 United States Customs service, an FAA Repair Station, a spacious 72,000 square feet of heated hangar space, and Ronson's NATA Safety 1st certified line crew. You can fly into Ronson Aviation day or night, 365 days a year, and expect a staffed and ready FBO. Three helipads, a wide 6,000-foot runway and another 4,800-foot runway all run by a 24/7 FAA tower are icing on the cake for corporate and private fliers.
A completely remodeled lobby will greet pilots and passengers in January. "Our new facility will showcase a modern design with state-of-the-art amenities in a comfortable, relaxing environment," Blair explains.
Anticipation to Appreciation
Emblazoned on the city's Lower Free Bridge is the slogan, "Trenton Makes, The World Takes," a homage to the area's heritage as a manufacturing center. The city gained fame during World War II manufacturing TBM Avenger Torpedo Bombers, which took a large toll on German and Japanese ships and submarines.
Today, it's the economic powerhouse of nearby Princeton University and the financial and pharmaceutical firms in Philadelphia drawing international business travelers to Trenton-Mercer Airport and its strategic location.
No matter where those customers come from, Ronson Aviation tries to find some contact touchpoint so the FBO can make sure everything went okay.
"We want to do a thoughtful communication, one that makes customers feel appreciated," Blair says. And one, says Blair, that will help the FBO do an even better job at anticipating the customer's needs next time around.
Ronson Aviation is part of the Ross Aviation family of 15 locally managed and distinctly branded FBOs, stretching from the Northeast to Florida, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.
For more information, visit ronsonaviation.com, or call (609) 771-9500.