GREEN BAY, WI — In 1970 Jet Air became the first Mitsubishi service center for the then new MU-2 aircraft; and ten years later, the company moved to its current location at Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB). In 1983, Jet Air purchased a fixed base operation, but sold it to investors in 1997. Recently, the company’s current owners have
reestablished the FBO under the umbrella brand Jet Air Group. Now, Jet Air Group looks to expand by consolidating the company into a more efficient facility for its customers.
Four airlines currently serve Green Bay’s O&D market: Delta, United, American, and Midwest. Tom Miller, airport director for nearly nine years, relates that passenger service will soon be enhanced by two more carriers, Frontier and Continental.
Frontier will add nonstop service to and from its Denver hub beginning in April; and the restoration of service by Continental (the carrier exited the market last fall) will reestablish the link between GRB and Cleveland, beginning in May.
According to Miller, GRB had annual enplanements of 423,504 in 2008 and 360,471 in 2009. However, the airport’s November ‘09 traffic was up 17.2 percent; and last enplanements were up 6.4 percent.
The market share leader here is Delta, serving both the Detroit and Minneapolis hubs five times per day. Apart from commercial aviation, the GA presence here is growing, from the standpoint of corporate travel, says Miller.
“While the recreation segment remains fairly flat [the airport has 130 based aircraft, and plots laid out for recreational pilots who would like to build], corporate travel is going through the roof,” remarks Miller.
“Titletown [soon to be renamed Jet Air Services] is adding on and building a good-sized hangar next to their Jet Air facility; they seem to be doing very well.
“Both our FBOs have worked aggressively to increase their business, both in the maintenance area, as well as in aircraft charters, which appear to have increased significantly in recent years.”
From titletown to jet air services
Alan Timmerman, chief operating officer for the Jet Air Group, has been at his position for two and a half years. He decided to retire after a career in law enforcement but was offered the Jet Air job by the previous owner, who agreed Timmerman could gain part ownership if he agreed to operate the facilities. “He let me buy in and that’s where we are today,” says Timmerman.
A life-long aviator himself, he describes his business as a diversified FBO. Jet Air Group is now one entity with several service divisions, says Timmerman.
The service divisions consist of the Jet Air maintenance facility — the oldest MU-2/Mitsubishi service center in the country; a full-service avionics division (a dealer for Garmin, Honeywell, S-TEC, and more); a calibration lab which also services tools for large construction companies; the Titletown Jet Centre FBO; an international trash sterilizer, which the company utilizes to service the ports along Lake Michigan; the Frontline Aviation flight school; aircraft sales; and a charter business.
Titletown Jet Centre, whose name will change to Jet Air Services once the move to the new facility is complete, offers complete line services, hangar storage, and pilot amenities. The FBO also services passenger aircraft operated by ExpressJet, the regional carrier that handles United Airlines’ GRB routes. Titletown had Continental’s business before the carrier dropped the service; Timmerman plans on going after that contract again, and will be pursuing the Frontier contract as well.
Timmerman says fueling was the hardest hit profit center during the downturn. The FBO saw fuel sales come back a bit last fall, but for the last couple months those sales have been down again — some 15 percent, says Timmerman. In 2009, Titletown pumped just shy of one million gallons total, the bulk of which was into-plane for airline and charter aircraft.
Brown County-based Jet Air Group beefs up operations at Austin Straubel Airport
Company has also been honored as the 2012 Wisconsin Aviation Business of the Year