Corporate wings aims to elevate travelers' flying experience

In December 2013, South Bend International Airport issued a request for proposals to create a new fixed base operator (FBO) in South Bend. Randy Jones felt like he was the perfect person to take on the challenge.

  1. He knew the airport and community well, having lived and worked there for 15 years.
  2. Since working on the line, fueling 172s part-time in college more than thirty years ago, he’d worked practically all job functions at an airport, and knew the aviation business inside and out. You could say he had thirty years of experience perfecting the art of hospitality.
  3. He never lost sight of the fact that flying should be fun, and wanted his future FBO to add to that enjoyable experience for each and every traveler touching down or taking off from South Bend.

"My view of the FBO, our role, is to enhance people's joy of flying," said Jones, president/general manager, Corporate Wings. "Whether a person is coming out to the airport for their first flying lesson, a pilot is coming off of an eight-leg day, or a seasoned business traveler is heading to a client meeting, the traveling part of the journey is supposed to be as enjoyable as possible. And the only way to provide that exceptional level of service is with trained professionals that earn the appreciation of our customers. The furniture in our lobby isn't what makes people happy, it's our staff."

One week before Christmas in 2015, the Phillips 66® Aviation branded FBO Corporate Wings opened its doors at South Bend International Airport. The multimillion-dollar project included renovating a former DHL storage space to accommodate the new facilities.

Corporate Wings' focus is on traditional FBO services, including refueling, hangar storage, deicing and passenger/pilot facilities and amenities. A unique offering is a secure indoor parking area that shields customers from both the winter and summer elements.

Trusted Wings Comes Out on Top

Jones took the opportunity to evaluate all fuel providers before opening Corporate Wings. He looked at fuel supply and quality, refueling equipment, FBO-offered programs, including credit card processing and reward programs, and ease of communication with the organization.

"Phillips 66 Aviation easily came out on top," said Jones. "For being a large company, it's also a very personal company. Sales reps always want to be helpful. They want to talk to you and see how your business is going. They want to contribute to your success. The integrity Phillips 66 brings to the table is unmatched."

Fighting Irish Fans Flock to FBO

The University of Notre Dame plays a huge impact not only on South Bend, but on Northern Indiana in general. During the year, Notre Dame students and alumni fly in and out of South Bend, but there are six weekends a year that change the nature of the airport – home football games. On an average day, the FBO might see five to six flights, but on a football Saturday, that number can easily jump to 100–300.

What do Jones and his staff do to prepare for these hard-hitting days? Anything and everything. Corporate Wings works with its area partners, including local hotels and car rental companies, to accommodate the needs of its customers. Additionally, a backup team of employees comes in to help out wherever needed. It’s an exciting time anticipating and preparing for the upcoming football season. It’s an opportunity for the FBO to shine in the face of a unique situation.

To learn more about Corporate Wings, click here.