J.A. Air Center, the Chicago-area FBO, made its debut as a top-rated FBO in our 2011 survey, taking the top spot. It reclaimed the highest score this year, led by a 9.8 rating for its upscale facilities (one of two locations with the highest individual category score in this year’s survey)
as well as the highest score for passenger amenities. The privately owned company saw a good year in 2012, reporting better-than-20-percent growth at an airport that FBO operations manager Randy Fank describes as a diamond-in-the-rough for aircraft heading to the Windy City. “We have more and more new customers coming through every week, and that’s just going to continue as we let people know there is another option out here,” he told AIN.
The FBO provides aircraft charter and management services and has one of the country’s biggest avionics shops. Indeed, the JA in its name stands for Joliet Avionics, harkening back to the company’s roots at DuPage Airport. Recently the FBO received FAA Type IV certification for its maintenance facility as it turns its attention to catering to larger business jets. Last summer it opened an interiors shop and since then has installed cabins on nearly 20 aircraft up to a Bombardier Challenger 604. In describing his FBO’s success, Fank summed it up thus: “It’s not hard. Take care of the guy in the back of the airplane, get him on his way so you’ve actually accomplished what the pilots want done, then take care of the pilots.”