Focused Footage at the FBO

Adding a digital surveillance system helps Millennium Aviation secure assets, safeguard staff and passengers, and shield itself from false liability claims

Millennium Aviation is no small potato in the fixed-base operator (FBO) market. The Reading, Pa. firm operates its regional FBO and charter operation out of 1 million square feet of ramp space and two corporate hangars offering a combined 80,000 square feet of storage. And, on any given day, the Millennium Aviation team services as many as 30 transient aircraft and a handful of charter flights.

“We have more than $100 million worth of aircraft sitting on our ramp on any given day, which we are responsible for,” says Peter Knight, CEO and owner of Millennium Aviation. “We also have a fuel farm on-site where we maintain approximately 24,000 gallons of Jet-A fuel inventory and 12,000 gallons of Avgas.”

With high-dollar assets such as these on-site, a solid and reliable security system is an absolute must; it may even be a requirement clients expect.

“High-dollar, large aircraft need extra care and handling, making a reliable surveillance system an absolute necessity,” Knight says.

To that end, Millennium Aviation recently added an Avigilon high-definition (HD) video surveillance system to secure aircraft, safeguard staff and passengers, and protect itself against false liability claims. The FBO selected Avigilon, a Vancouver, B.C.-headquartered technology firm, because it specialized in HD surveillance systems, network video management software and digital IP surveillance cameras providing the utmost in resolution and quality.

Rick Ramsay, senior manager of product strategy at Avigilon, says securing FBOs is a growing market for them. “We see the most interest from potential customers who can immediately see the value and benefit of higher resolution and better quality video,” he says. “Customers, like FBOs, that have high-dollar assets to protect, especially with high insurance liability, really benefit from this type of system.”

Knight points out it can be “very difficult and costly” to get insurance in the FBO business and stresses that a HD surveillance system can make a tremendous difference. “Such a system gives underwriters the assurance that they are making a safe investment,” he explains. “Deductibles can range from $10,000 to $50,000 for FBOs that have experienced a lot of liability issues or security breaches.”

Millennium Aviation’s new security system has already positively impacted the firm’s insurance costs. In fact, the $95,000 investment substantially reduced insurance premiums, says Knight.


Digital Eyes

While a security system is nothing new to Millennium Aviation (it’s actually had three systems over the last 10 years), Knight describes the new system as “the most user-friendly, viable and capable system” they’ve ever had.

The FBO originally approached The Wire Guys of Alburtis, Pa., to provide tech support for its existing system. But The Wire Guys President Michael Miller talked to them about upgrading to an Avigilon system instead.

The resulting system added approximately 20 Avigilon 5-megapixel cameras throughout the FBO main entrance, lobby, hangar, parking lots, and fuel storage areas, and a 29-megapixel camera on the airport ramp. “Installing the 29-megapixel camera allows us to videotape and scope in on the entire ramp with one camera that can zoom in on any location we want it to,” says Knight.

The primary advantage of the 29-megapixel camera actually comes from its high definition capabilities, says Knight. “We have much better resolution when we want to manually zoom in on an image,” he says. “With video systems of the past, it was tough to make out what was really on camera. It looked like you were monitoring shadows not individuals.”

According to Knight, the 29-megapixel camera was well worth the investment. This is a “serious tool,” he says, and one that will more than pay for itself over a five-year period. “And you can’t put a price on the protection it provides,” he adds.


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