A developing suburb fuels air traffic to Gill Aviation
Located just twenty miles north of Houston is Spring, Texas — a suburb where families move to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Jag Gill and his wife, Pinder, originally from England, have called it home for the past twenty-five years.
They are the owners and operators of Gill Aviation, a full-service, Phillips 66®-branded FBO that services David Wayne Hooks Airport.
A lot has changed in Spring over the past quarter century, especially with a recent $1.1 billion Texas Department of Transportation project that is driving new development north and west of Houston.
The Grand Parkway extension broke ground in the summer of 2013. When finished, the 38-mile segment of highway will better connect the outer suburbs, including Spring, to Houston. Experts and observers are calling the Grand Parkway a game changer. The project is fueling the development of new residential communities, offices, hospitals and retail stores.
This new stretch of highway will obviously drive more street traffic to the area, but will it drive more air traffic as well? Jag says, "Absolutely."
"What drives the business here is as the area becomes more populated with housing and businesses, the demand for aviation services correspondingly grows," said Jag. "There are two factors in particular where I've especially noticed growth in our aviation business. One is the number of based aircraft housed at our FBO, and the other is the volume of transient aircraft that we see day to day."
When the Gills took over running the family business in 1989 they were at 50-60% based aircraft capacity. Over the years, this figure has steadily risen as the FBO has seen an upward trend in people storing their aircraft at Gill Aviation.
Jag also notices a similar trend in increased traffic with transient aircraft, including military planes. The FBO holds a Department of Defense Into-Plane fuel contract that they've held since 1989. This allows military aircraft to land at David Wayne Hooks Airport and fill their tanks quickly with Phillips 66-Aviation fuel. While military aircraft all over the country utilize Gill Aviation for their fueling needs, bases within a 500 mile radius including Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Randolph Air Force Base and Fort Hood are the FBOs frequent flyers.
In addition to increased traffic to the FBO – which currently supports an average of 275,000 aircraft movements a year – Jag expects the mix of aircraft will also shift. Right now a large piece of Gill Aviation's fueling business is avgas used for filling piston-engine aircraft. Traditionally in more rural areas, there are more pilots who fly recreationally in smaller aircraft. However, as the area becomes more densely populated with more residential and commercial infrastructure, there will be an increase of business travelers utilizing aircraft requiring jet fuel for fillups.
While security has always been paramount at Gill Aviation, as airport traffic increases and the Transportation Security Administration becomes more involved, even more security features will be added to the airport.
"We've always gone above and beyond to ensure the safety and security of the passengers as well as the aircraft and personnel flying the aircraft," said Jag. "And now that our airport is in a more developed community, security is becoming more and more important. Security features such as security fencing and more sophisticated navigating systems are additions to the FBO that we're considering more and more."
Gill Aviation has remained a loyal Phillips 66-dealer for the past 25 years. The family-owned business takes tremendous pride in developing and maintaining its first-class facilities, including the recent completion of freshly paving its runways. The private airport also offers customers a unique landing alternative, by way of water.
Additionally, the FBO proudly offers their customers the WingPoints® Rewards program, where cardholders earn valuable points that can be parlayed into gift cards from leading retailers and restaurants, or a pre-paid debit card acceptable at thousands of locations. And double points can be earned when pilots pay for their fuel using a Phillips 66 branded credit card with their WingPoints Rewards Card.
While their business model has changed to incorporate heavier air traffic in the Spring area, one thing remains steadfast: They treat every customer, whether civilian or military, with the utmost respect and highest quality customer service.
For more information about Gill Aviation, please visit www.hooksairport.com.