With regard to marketing the FBO, Timmerman comments, “We attended NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference in January and we do a lot of marketing through Air BP.
Jet Air Group’s biggest income source is “by far the maintenance,” says Timmerman. “It’s always been that way; we’re a Cirrus and Mitsubishi service center, and we are also a Part 145 repair station.”
“The flight training and air ambulance businesses have also had some deal of success, helping our business weather the struggling economic environment.”
Jet Air Group’s Frontline Aviation operates the company’s flight training center as well as a full-service air charter service.
“We are going from 900 square feet of lobby space to 5,000 square feet with the new FBO,” relates Timmerman.
Facility features will include a waiting area with a fireplace, pilot day rooms and lounges, a conference room, and computer workstations. Services include contract fuel programs, rental car delivery, airframe and engine maintenance, avionics, and more. The new facility is expected to open for business around August 1.
Jet Air Group is also building a new ‘green’ hangar adjacent to the new FBO; one of the first green hangars in Wisconsin, says Timmerman.
The company currently has 16,000 square feet of hangar space, but is expanding to 24,000 square feet — a third more space. The new hangar features heated floors and a 28-foot by 100-foot door to accommodate larger business jets.
Jet Air Group invested some $3 million total in the development. The new hangar will include two Big Ass Fan installations. “Big Ass Fans have guaranteed us that with the system we are putting in, we will stay within one degree temperature-wise between the ceiling and floor,” says Timmerman.
Focus on Energy, a Wisconsin utility-based grant process, was a partner in the development plans, relates Timmerman. “They came in and made 20 recommendations, and we are complying with some 90 percent of them,” says Timmerman. “They recommended the in-floor heat; that cost a substantial amount of money compared with the air-handling system, but our return on that investment will occur within three to four years.”
Mead & Hunt, a Madison, WI-based airport design firm, is planning the new ramp space. “The airport agreed to put in hundreds of thousands of feet of ramp space for the new FBO,” remarks Timmerman. “We have 200,000 square feet now; we are hoping for some 500,000 square feet to accommodate the new facility.”
Regarding financing, Timmerman comments, “That part wasn’t bad; we had a couple financial institutions that competed for the business, and interest rates were very competitive. It was just the right time to do this.
“The construction bids were very competitive as well. Bayland, a local contractor we chose, told us they are making about 1 percent on the project; they just want to keep their guys working for the winter.”
With regard to the cost of raw materials, Timmerman says he signed a contract early [some 60 days] so he could lock in lower steel prices, which worked out well, he relates.
With a lease on the property to the east of the current facility, long-term goals for Jet Air Group include a new maintenance facility. Timmerman says he would like a more energy-efficient facility.
“We are very fortunate here; we are so diversified in what we do,” says Timmerman. “When one part is down we usually see another part go up. That’s why we are diversified; it certainly helps in a down economy.”
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