The Fast Air Jet Centre is located at Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (CYWG) and has been voted to receive Wings’ Top FBO of the Year Award. This prestigious recognition is given from the results of a national survey of air crew and operators who name their top choice of FBO’s across the Country. Having served this location since 1989, the Fast Air Jet Centre (which began its life as an Esso Avitat) has gained a strong reputation for a high-quality client experience. The specific requirements of this aviation service sector are highly demanding and need constant attention to deliver what is required by today’s private aviation community.
In 2015 Fast Air purchased the Esso Avitat FBO, which had been delivering outstanding customer service for many years. The leadership group helped with a smooth transition and continue to operate at the same high standard. The team includes, Jackie Jonson (Business Manager), D’Arcy McGill (Customer Service Manager), Robert Cox (Operations Manager) and Scott Hudson (Assistant Operations Manager) and who together have continued the legacy of service and excellence which led to its current accomplishment. Dan Rutherford, Marketing Manager and Business Development reports: “In addition to our outstanding staff team, our success at the Fast Air Jet Centre really stands on the shoulders of the previous owner Mr. Bert Marks who maintained the highest standard of excellence for many years. The FBO in many ways is a legacy to his attention to detail and strong relationships with clients and staff.”
The Fast Air Jet Centre is a member of the Air Elite Network which is a group of private FBO’s around the world who operate at the same elevated levels of service. To be selected as a member of the network an FBO must demonstrate a consistent level of service and facility standards that meet the needs of today’s discerning travelers. There are nearly 100 members of the Air Elite network globally and seven of them are found in major centres of Canada.
Fast Air operates several divisions that include the FBO, air charter services, aircraft management, maintenance and an air ambulance division (dba Vanguard Air Care), from its headquarters in Manitoba. As a part of this larger campus, the Fast Air Jet Centre has access to 100,000 square feet of heated hangars, maintenance, and aircraft support for its clients. This larger footprint enables the Jet Centre to accommodate all types of aircraft, from a private single engine, to large corporate jets, and even Boeing and Airbus aircraft with professional sports teams. Regardless of size, they all receive the same red-carpet experience. Fast Air also provide air charter Service in Toronto at Billy Bishop Downtown Island airport and are currently opening an air charter service at Abbotsford International Airport in British Columbia.
Fast Air was founded in 1995 by Dylan Fast, who began his career as a commercial pilot and soon realized that there was a need for an air charter service to meet the requirements of business and governments in Manitoba and beyond. His mantra from the outset has been, ‘Better not Bigger’, which focuses the team members on making sure things are done to the best of their abilities and not to worry about growth. This value has proven to be the means of a lot of growth, but the goal has always been to keep the quality high.
Staffed around the clock by friendly customer service agents and efficient ramp crews, Fast Air Jet Centre has become renowned for its quick turnaround capabilities – generally fueled and gone in under 30 minutes. With a focus on customer service and catering to the needs of aircrews as well as passengers, Fast Air delivers a white glove service beginning when the aircraft enters their ramp. Their typical service level has three marshallers on the ramp to guide pilots and their aircraft to a safe destination on the ramp. With the COVID-19 pandemic almost over and the boom in Business and Charter Aviation, Fast Air is building their sixth hanger, adding 40,000 sq ft to their hanger complex.
When hearing of the Wings Top FBO award being given to the Jet Centre, Dylan Fast, CEO and President of Fast Air commented: “I am very proud of Jackie, D’Arcy, Rob, Scott and the whole Fast Air Jet Centre team who have been recognized by the aviation community as the Top FBO in Canada. I have had many messages from companies and aircrew over the years telling us about their great service experience, so I know this is well-deserved. Thanks team, keep up the great work!”
Sustaining the Fast Air culture begins with the hiring process, which has been challenging during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, Fast Air teaches all staff a course on it vision, values and client experience called the ‘Fast Air Approach’. The values are reinforced by simply printing them on the back for their company identification badges, outlining mission, vision and culture as a way to keep their values front and centre. Fast Air works hard to deliver on their core values especially when customers have unusual catering requirements or when unexpected arrivals strain their ramp resources. Fortunately, being part of a larger group, allows access to five other hangers and ramps, inclusive of Fast Air’s maintenance hangers.
Sustainable Aviation is a major focus at Fast Air, in fact the Jet Centre was the first FBO in Canada to be carbon-neutral (2019). As part of a ten-year strategic plan, Fast Air began building their sixth hanger with it opening for service in October 2022. The design and build of the new hanger focused on sustainability. Fast Air is the first Canadian FBO organization to be certified by National Air Transportation Association’ (NATA) sustainability standard for business aviation. The Sustainability Standard for Aviation Business, is a new sustainability initiative, created to provide FBOs and other aviation businesses a self-certification process for pursuing flexible, cost-effective options to lower their carbon footprint. Developed by a working group under NATA’s Environment Committee, the NATA Sustainability Standard for Aviation Businesses is an industry standard designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2), increase use of more environmentally friendly energy sources, reduce waste, and encourage sustainability operation-wide. Fast Air is committed to developing safer and more environmentally friendly transportation solutions through innovation, adherence to industry best practices, carbon offsets and investments in clean technology. Their sustainability practices are guided by improvements for People, Planet and Profits.
People, process, and technology drive a company’s journey to the execution of their corporate mandates, goals, and profitability. Long term success is driven by a secret sauce blending these ingredients into a recipe of success touching the lives of leaders, service staff and most importantly the customer. Fast Air’s achievement of WINGS Magazine FBO of the Year award demonstrates that they have the right recipe. Like many successful organizations, Fast Air thrives in a culture of growth while not sitting on their hands. What’s next for Fast Air, only time will tell, but no doubt, they will continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience, while retaining talented aviation professionals.