Christiansen Aviation: supporting pilots of tomorrow

According to a recent article published in Aviation Week & Space Technology, there is an inevitable shortage of U.S. pilots in the near future. There are a number of reasons that are contributing to this perfect storm; one is that not enough students are electing to pick a career manning a cockpit. Bill Christiansen, owner of Phillips 66® Aviation-branded FBO Christiansen Aviation Inc., is doing his part to help the next generation of pilots earn their wings.

A large part of Christiansen Aviation's business is its aircraft leasing program. The FBO began leasing aircraft in 1985. Since then, it has become one of the largest single-engine Cessna owners in the country. Christiansen works with flight centers as well as major education institutions across the country, including Auburn University, to lease the FBO's robust collection of airplanes, allowing students to put in their flight hours as they progress through the pilot training process.

"I think it's important for everyone in this business to be an aviation loyalist and help the next generation embrace general aviation and move up to the careers that they want in the industry," said Christiansen.

Other services provided by Christiansen Aviation include new and used aircraft sales, a maintenance shop, flight school services, a full service FBO that pumps Phillips 66 fuel, leased hangar space and comfortable pilot accommodations.

The FBO built its first hangar in 1995 and recently received a building permit to construct another hangar at Jones/Riverside Airport (RVS). This future expansion will allow the FBO to house more corporate and private aircraft, also contributing to an increase in jet fuel sales and maintenance work. Christiansen understands the large picture of running a business and how all service offering components complement each other.

There's a lot of support behind the 43-year-old business, including a staff of 40 employees, two of which are Christiansen's sons.

"We are a family business, and so I'm very honored and lucky that my two sons are working with me," said Christiansen. "It means a lot from a business standpoint but also means a lot from a customer standpoint because customers like to see and deal with family-owned and -operated businesses."

Supporting customers and the Phillips 66 brand

The FBO opened its doors in 1972 operating under a business model that holds true today – offer customers a diverse range of services. This benefits the customer by providing an exceptional level of convenience. It also benefits the FBO because when one service offering is slow other areas of the business are available to pick up the slack.

"I feel very strong about having good prices and being as efficient as possible to be able to give pilots a good value," said Christiansen. "And that goes for fuel, maintenance, flight school, basically anything that you do."

Christiansen, a member of the Phillips general aviation advisory council, is a strong proponent of Phillip 66's loyalty program WingPoints® Rewards that allows customers to earn rewards for every purchased gallon of Phillips 66 fuel.

"I think it's important to support the great Phillips brand and the rich history of Phillips petroleum in the aviation business through programs like WingPoints that contributes to growing brand loyalty among customers," said Christiansen. 

The FBO feels a special connection to the Phillips brand being located in Tulsa, in close proximity to Bartlesville, Okla., the location where Lee Eldas "L.E." Phillips and Frank Phillips originally founded Phillips Petroleum Co. in 1917. Today it's home to the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum and a large presence of Phillips 66 employees. 

To learn more about Christiansen Aviation Inc., visit www.christiansenaviation.com