Farnborough Airport
Farnborough Airport.

The World's Best FBOs

Survey results from one of our sister publications show which airport facilities offer the best services and amenities.

FBOs are a key cog in business aviation’s airport system. Often touted as offering the first impression visitors arriving by air have of a destination, they provide ground handling, parking, hangar space, towing, and in most cases fuel for aircraft. For passengers, they offer amenities that typically include comfortable lobbies and waiting areas, refreshment bars, business centers, and customer-service agents or concierges. For pilots and crew, there are lounges, snooze rooms, flight-planning areas, and courtesy cars. 

To determine which FBOs provide the best overall experiences, BJT sister publication Aviation International News has conducted an annual survey since 1981. AIN polls a select subset of its readers, including pilots, flight schedulers, and dispatchers—those who can evaluate FBOs most knowledgeably. These subscribers now have access to a website that allows them to rate FBOs at any time during the year, with their latest rating of a location replacing any previous one.

AIN culled through thousands of responses from the past five years (2018–22) to compile cumulative average scores for its latest annual lists of the best FBOs in the Americas and the rest of the world. 

The magazine asked survey respondents to rate facilities they’d used over the past year on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following categories:

Line service—competence and professionalism of the workers who meet the airplane on the ramp and service it.

Passenger amenities—the quality of lobbies, lounges, conference rooms, and refreshments, as well as the availability of ground transportation.

Pilot amenities—availability and quality of pilots’ lounges, flight-planning facilities, snooze rooms, crew showers, entertainment and recreation offerings, and complimentary crew cars.

Facilities—cleanliness, comfort, upkeep, and convenience of the location.

Customer service—professionalism of customer-service representatives, their familiarity with the local area, and their assistance with reservations and catering.

The survey responses show that to be a top-scoring FBO, it is not enough to excel in only one of these categories. Facilities must demonstrate excellence across the board. 


The highest-rated FBO in the Americas last year, for the third consecutive year, was Pentastar Aviation, one of six FBOs at Oakland County International Airport in Pontiac, Michigan. It garnered an average score of 4.78, placing it among the top 10 in all five survey categories in our latest ranking, the only location to achieve this distinction.

The company, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, offers a variety of uncommon services, including what is likely the only FBO-operated jetway in the U.S. It is attached to the Stargate, a two-story, 10,000-square-foot terminal with its own baggage carousel that is used for big charter groups such as sports teams as well as for large government aircraft. Another feature that sets the Pentastar operation apart is its FiveStar Gourmet division, which provides inflight catering for aircraft operators as well as meals for FBO customers and airport workers. Due to its popularity, it has even expanded its service to other airports in the area.

Open and staffed 24/7, the complex includes 155,000 square feet of hangar space and 10 acres of reinforced ramp space. The company has acquired one of the last remaining parcels of undeveloped land at its airport and will soon begin work on an $11 million expansion project that will add a pair of 25,000-square-foot hangars and 8,000 square feet of passenger lounges and office space.

The 2023 AIN FBO survey turned out to be a close contest, with Pentastar just edging out American Aero at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport and Sheltair at Florida’s Tampa International, which tied for second place with a score of 4.74. 

Outside the Americas, European locations dominated the highest rungs on the list, taking seven of the top nine positions. London-area Farnborough Airport earned a 4.69, good enough to place it among the top 5 percent of FBOs worldwide. It ranked third overall this year in pilot amenities, second in passenger amenities, and first in facilities. 

Its three-story, 52,000-square-foot terminal features VIP customer lounges that can accommodate up to 60 people for high-capacity flights, plus conference rooms, crew lounge and snooze rooms, a work area, passenger and crew shower facilities, and laundry service. It even has a fully equipped gym attached to one of its hangars.

Drive-through customs and immigration clearance and ramp-side vehicle access are available along with an on-airport hotel. With 240,000 square feet of hangar space capable of sheltering aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A220, the facility is home to 64 jets.

Second place (4.61) went to another London FBO, Universal Aviation at Stansted Airport, while Execujet Australia (4.52) at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport occupied the third position.

Curt Epstein covers FBOs, sustainability, and other topics for Aviation International News, where he is a senior editor.