The city of Bartlesville is certainly no stranger to The Phillips 66 Company. Dating back to its first office in 1905, Frank Phillips and his younger brother, L.E., incorporated the company in 1917, calling it The Phillips Petroleum Company – all in the heart of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, an area rich in oil that no one had discovered prior.
Phillips 66 Aviation Department was one of the first corporate flight departments and was founded by W.D. “Billy” Parker in 1926. “The Bartlesville Airfield is rich in aviation history with many early advancements in the industry created right here in Bartlesville”
A mere 25 years later, Bartlesville FBO, Bartlesville Municipal Airport (BVO) started its operations in 1949, serving all who depart and arrive in this special city. Today, BVO manager, Mike Richardson and his team run a tight ship, managing leases to overall facility maintenance. It’s all hands on deck across BVO’s mighty team of five to maintain one of the cleanest and most safety-conscious airports around.
“Everybody has a great work ethic,” said Mike. “We’re friendly and very eager to accommodate, and my staff is very knowledgeable on airport operations. I just can’t say enough good things about them.”
Totaling nearly 430 acres, BVO is owned by the city of Bartlesville and contracts jet and AvGas fuel through Phillips 66® Aviation. It is the home base of approximately 50 aircrafts and, as Mike puts it, “is the gateway to the sky of the city.”
Phillips 66 Aviation provides a full range of services at BVO, including aircraft fueling, towing, hangar storage, flight crew vehicles, restrooms, passenger and flight crew lounge areas, and flight planning. In addition, the airport is home to several third-party services, which in turn employs more than 40 individuals. From fueling up ag- sprayers, to charter and cargo haulers, BVO offers multiple amenities that has helped the city make a name for itself.
Since the airport’s founding, the facility has gone through several transitions but nonetheless, remains an institution in Bartlesville. Recently celebrating 32 years in the industry, Mike began his days at BVO when he was 19 years old.
“It more like found me, than me finding it,” Mike said. “I worked downtown at the time, and a security officer came into my workplace and mentioned the job openings at the airport. I remember walking into the hangars on my first day and just being blown away by the corporate aircraft and size of the hangars.”
Mike cherished his first impression of the FBO and furthered this vision, as he grew into his role as eventual manager of a pristine, well-run facility that not only its customers, but also the local community think highly of.
“People are constantly commenting on not only how nice our airport is, but city’s importance to the founding of Phillips Petroleum, and the eventual evolution of the company into Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips. We take pride serving the aviation needs of the two majors when in Bartlesville” Mike said.
In August 2022, BVO will celebrate its one-year anniversary under the city of Bartlesville. Since then, its relationship with the city has grown and continually serves it as the top airport of choice for several local and regional businesses. It has even played host to some big names out there, like Apple Studios.
More importantly, The Phillips Petroleum Company Museum in Bartlesville continues to be a cornerstone for the city and Phillips 66 brand, filled with curriculum materials designed to introduce and to connect teachers and students with its rich history. Opportunities for learning extend from the young entrepreneur and driven Phillips 66 Petroleum president, Frank Phillips.
“The rich history and legacy of Frank Phillips is very much present in the work we do today at BVO,” Mike added. “He never lost his ties to both the locals and visitors of Bartlesville, and we are incredibly honored to stay true to the city’s roots.”
Looking ahead, Mike and the rest of his team at BVO anticipate building several more hangars, as well as aspire to expand a road directly to the airport for easy in and out access.
Other big projects happening at the airport is the expansion of Phoenix Rising Aviation an MRO specializing in Dassault aircraft into another big box hangar, and the recent relocation to BVO of a 1941 C-47 part of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team Foundation.