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Back in March of 2020, Cutter Aviation President and CEO Will Cutter never could have imagined his company would be celebrating one of its best years yet. COVID-19 had all but put a pause on business for Cutter Aviation’s network of fixed base operators (FBOs) across the Southwest and the aviation industry at large, due to a variety of factors surrounding the pandemic. The world back then looked much different for Will and his team of 235 employees. Travel was diminished and fears were heightened—not a plane was on the ramp nor a gallon of jet fuel to be sold. However, as a third generation owner, Will wasn’t going to give up the fight that easily. 

Equipped with a new CFO in Peter Hokanson, who oversees the company’s fueling operations and facilities, his team pushed forward, and soon enough travelers found a new routine, opting for safer travel via charter planes and private jets. Cutter Aviation would find itself entering 2021 on the heels of a banner year with record-setting sales, a surge in private charter rentals, and full occupancy at all of its hangars across all FBO locations throughout the Southwest—not to mention, a host of expansion projects on the horizon. In fact, Cutter Aviation is getting ready to break ground on a new 60,000-square-foot hangar with 12,000 square feet of state-of-the-art office space at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (KDVT) in Phoenix, Arizona.

The massive project, which is designed to provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience for general and business aviation travelers, is breaking ground in early 2021 and could be completed in time to host the company’s Christmas party this time next year, according to Will. Cutter Aviation’s facility at KDVT already offers Phillips 66® Aviation branded fuel and line/guest services. A similar project at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (KPHX) could begin as early as 2022, followed by an additional hangar project at Albuquerque International Sunport (KABQ) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, within the next few years.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to expand out here in the Southwest, where we have four FBO locations, in addition to our service locations in Phoenix at Sky Harbor (KPHX), Denver, Colorado at Centennial Airport (KAPA), San Antonio (KSAT) and Addison, Texas (KADS),” Will said. “We’ve had plenty of opportunities to buy other locations around the nation in the Southeast, Northwest and Midwest, but we want to be a big powerhouse in the Southwest—that’s our home.”

Perhaps one of the most crowning achievements of recent years for Cutter Aviation comes from within the Cutter family, which saw its fourth generation enter the family business. The oldest family-owned and operated FBO in America welcomed Will’s son and daughter to the team, both of whom he’s grooming to possibly take over the family business – extending even further a legacy that dates back to 1928 when William P. Cutter founded the company in Albuquerque on the principles of respect, trust and integrity.

Will sees the success of the company coming as a result of a number of factors. “It’s because of the great people we have working for Cutter, our loyal customers, the different brands of dealerships and the benefits of flying corporate aviation,” he said.

He also credits the success to their 82-year partnership with Phillips 66 Aviation. “We’ve been with them from the start,” he said, referring to Cutter Aviation being the oldest Phillips 66 branded FBO in the entire network of 800-plus. “What Phillips 66 brings to general aviation is the name, quality, support and longevity. That’s important. We stand with them side by side.”

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