FBO Profile: PrimeSky in San Jose del Cabo sees traffic surge after COVID
One of the most notable effects of the pandemic on private aviation has been an increase in traffic to vacation destinations due to reduced commercial schedules and the desire to fly safely. Perhaps no place has demonstrated this more readily than PrimeSky, the only FBO at San José del Cabo International Airport (MMSD) in Mexico. Owned and operated by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, which operates 12 airports in the country as well as two in Jamaica, the facility has increased operations by a staggering 71 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019 and 2021 figures. According to Patricia Silva Lugo, Head of Development of the company’s business, it is on track to surpass last year’s results. “Our average is 19,000 surgeries a year post-Covid,” she said AIN.
The company operated MMSD and operated the FBO under a 50-year lease that began in 1998. In 2009, it moved the FBO to a larger 1,400 sq. ft. building. terminal to form the first of what will eventually become PrimeSky’s network of FBOs at other airports. The building features a spacious double-height lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide abundant natural light. It offers passenger seating, a pilot lounge, a 10-seat conference room, A/V equipment, a bar and car rentals from several vendors. Catering is provided by an authorized third-party supplier located at the airport, and on-site customs and immigration clearance is available in the terminal during regular FBO hours of 7am to 9pm daily, with after-hours services available upon request.
The facility is undergoing major modernization. “In the building itself, we want to improve the passenger and pilot experience,” Lugo said, adding that the upgrade, which will be completed early next year, will replace the furniture and include a new pilot lounge with a shower and a new passenger. living room layout with more private areas.
Outside, the company is expanding its 66,000 square meters (16.3 acres) by 33,400 square meters. The 176.5 million peso ($9 million) annual project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The increased space is needed to accommodate the increasing number of private jets at the airport. Pedro Barajas, the FBO’s operations manager, noted that on New Year’s Eve last year, 88 private jets were parked overnight at the facility. Peak season for the airport runs from late November (coinciding with Thanksgiving in the US) through the end of the year holidays and into March for spring break. Last March, more than 2,200 surgeries were performed at the site.
Barajas added that during peak season and when owners are moving into their winter homes, the facility can host several jets, such as the Dassault Falcon 2000 and Hawker 900. Although it has no hangars, that will soon change as earlier this year the company has started construction on a 5,000 sq m hangar that will be able to accommodate BBJ/ACJ size aircraft when it is completed in the second half of 2023. It will be followed by another pair of similar sizes a year later.
The FBO has a staff of 47, and its technicians, trained through a government-authorized training provider, perform push and tow operations, potable water and lavatory maintenance, connect the ground power unit and even clean the aircraft cabin. Like many airports in Mexico, all aircraft refueling is handled by Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares, which is owned and operated by the state, but PrimeSky has filed permits with authorities to conduct its own in-flight refueling. It expects to acquire a fleet of tankers and start offering this service next year.
According to Lugo, the fact that the company operates both an airport and a single FBO means it has no middleman to drive up costs, allowing it to provide competitive fees to its customers.
Barajas explained that his service philosophy revolves around total customer satisfaction. “We always try to encourage our employees to really deliver the best experience for pilots and passengers.”
He recounted how the airport issued a Notam message last Thanksgiving saying all arriving planes were told to disembark and fly only because of an overcrowded ramp. However, after one plane arrived with the entire family, including the dogs, the FBO learned that the pilot was also the father of the family. Barajas and his staff moved at least five planes to make enough room for the plane to stay and the father to enjoy his vacation with his family.
Other examples include celebrating the birthdays of arriving passengers with decorations or having a mariachi and tequila band on hand to welcome the bachelorette party.
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2022-12-01/fbo-profile-primesky-san-jose-del-cabo-sees-traffic-surge-post-covid FBO Profile: PrimeSky in San Jose del Cabo sees traffic surge after COVID