William Cutter founded Cutter Flying Service nearly 85 years ago in New Mexico – back when general aviation was but a fledgling industry, the term “fixed base operator” was brand new, and the aviation department at Phillips Petroleum was barely a year old.
Ten years later, Cutter joined the Phillips network and has been fueling business flight ever since.
At NBAA 2012 in Orlando, Cutter Aviation was honored for its contributions to the aviation industry and for being the longest-running branded dealer in the Phillips 66 Aviation network. Cutter Aviation started selling Phillips fuel at Albuquerque’s West Mesa Airport nearly 75 years ago.
Now an aviation juggernaut in the Southwest, Cutter’s impact has soared well beyond the rural air charter business that began as William P. Cutter’s dream. Cutter Aviation’s reach now extends to seven major airports with facilities serving Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) and Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT), Colorado Springs (COS), El Paso (ELP), San Antonio (SAT), Dallas-McKinney (TKI) and Albuquerque (ABQ).
And during every one of those 85 years, Cutter Aviation has been run by the same family. That’s arguably the longest stretch of continuous family-run management for any FBO in America, and certainly the longest for an FBO group that’s grown as large as Cutter.
Serving far-flung towns, businesses and ranches strewn across the rough-hewn Southwest, Cutter beat back the Great Depression, becoming a Phillips 66 Aviation dealer in 1938, selling fuel, maintenance and aircraft to a region just beginning to hit its stride.
For years, Route 66 had been revealing Albuquerque’s charms as a semi-desert oasis to countless newcomers.
Then the U.S. Army broke ground to build Kirtland Air Force Base in 1941 (originally Army Air Base). The Land of Enchantment had been discovered, and Cutter was primed to serve the growing market.
Still, World War II has stalled aviation at most FBOs. Cutter survived by training pilots for the military, many in gliders soaring silently over the northern edges of the Chihuahuan Desert. The U.S. Navy designated Cutter as a Naval Air Training School as part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program.
“Cutter Aviation and Phillips 66 Aviation are integral to the history and to the future of general aviation,” says Rosemary Leone, Director, Programs Development, General Aviation, Phillips 66. “Cutter’s longevity, great people and facilities, plus their commitment to a full customer service experience, are noteworthy. The fact that they are still run by the same family after more than eight decades is a great testimony to the strength of their vision.”
For more information on Cutter Aviation, visit cutteraviation.com.