SALT LAKE CITY – Each winter, drawn by fluffy, powdery snow falling in abundance along the soaring Wasatch Mountains, flocks of skiers and, yes, film celebrities descend in private aircraft to TAC Air’s newest fixed base operations at Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) and Provo Municipal Airport (PVU).
With an airport-to-slopes drive time less than many daily commutes, it’s no wonder these FBOs – two of the newest Phillips 66® Aviation-branded dealers – are popular destinations.
Snowboarders and skiers can fly into these TAC Air FBOs, have a ramp-side limo pick them up, and in under an hour be gliding down thousands of vertical feet across thousands of acres of terrain – beckoning from no less than seven closeby resorts. And the icing on the cake? All of it is frosted by dry, downy snow, the stuff downhill skiing dreams are made of.
On big winter holidays like Christmas/New Year’s and the opening of the famous film festival at Sundance, TAC Air Salt Lake handles some 140 arrivals and 100 departures daily. That’s an extraordinary amount of traffic for any FBO, let alone one managing the challenges of snow, ice, freezing weather and varied customer needs.
But at TAC Air Salt Lake City, says its General Manager Mike McCarty, the crew is as zealous about keeping customers happy and on schedule as downhill skiers are about discovering waist-high powder.
“The passion our crew has for service is amazing,” says McCarty. “We have really benefited from a full-service approach because we can feed off each other’s departments, teams and resources to provide solutions and know-how for our customers.”
The Phillips 66 Aviation FBO succeeds, explains McCarty, by creating a full-service, 24/7/365-day experience that is all-encompassing.
One example: a staggering half-million square feet of space in 25 hangars, full of based customers, flight departments and service providers. It’s an extraordinary footprint few FBOs can challenge.
And then there is TAC Air SLC’s investment in advanced deicing capabilities, plus its five snow-clearing trucks with broad, 32-foot blades. The FBO responds so quickly it’s earned the respect of major airlines, which often call on TAC Air SLC to keep their ramps cleared and planes on schedule.
“All our deicers feature air-to-ground radios so that pilots are talking directly to crew members,” explains McCarty. “Hand signals can frustrate pilots, but here they can communicate to the deicing crews directly on radio so they know step-by-step, what’s going on. When it’s snowing, we also have the ability to pull in a lot of resources so that there are no delays with our customers’ flight plans.”
But then, McCarty is a thirty-year veteran of weather-challenged aviation, one who helped keep aircraft moving during the busy 2002 Winter Olympics. It was an event that introduced Salt Lake to the world – and a host of companies were lured into relocating.
“The Olympics showed what Utah and Salt Lake represents and the resources we have available,” McCarty says. “Now it seems like the state is on fire with business and growth. It is exciting to be part of it.”
With Utah’s 3.5 percent annual growth during the last five years – more than any state other than oil-laden North Dakota – the FBO has leapt on the opportunity, growing its hangar space from 22,000 square feet in 1995 to today’s 500,000 square feet.