- NetJets reports it will have 1,000 jets in its fleet by the end of next year.
- General Dynamics reports its FBO sales have recovered to nearly 20 percent ahead of pre-
- Gulfstream delivered more than 120 planes in 2022.
- THE BOTTOM LINE: private aviation is steadily becoming more affordable for businesses and individuals who do not have to be among the ultra wealthy.
Williamson County serves general Aviation owners and customers from Georgetown Executive Airport at Johnny Gantt Field and Taylor Municipal Airport. Together they are a key driver of our local economy, employing nearly 200 people and supporting more than 600 jobs tied to them.
On October 29 last year, 160 Cessna Citations were parked at the Georgetown airport—more aircraft than at any one time since World War II, when the airfield was a training center.
That high volume was due to the Citation Jet Pilots Association’s decision to hold its 2022 convention in Austin. Association CEO Trent Corcia says, “After looking at all the airports in the Austin area, we chose Georgetown as much for its size and access as for the reputation of and our friendship with the Cutter Aviation family. They have supported this event at other fixed base operators (FBOs) and they know how big this is. As well, their new Georgetown FBO was the best fit for our needs.”
More than 500 pilots from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, their companions and spouses, as well as dozens of vendors and partners attended the three-day event in Austin and helped raise more than $950,000 for charity. The CJPA was pleased with the benefits Georgetown offered in terms of traffic flow, logistics, and ground transportation. Trent adds that the association always prefers to use a single airport for the sake of efficiency, and the resources available at the new Cutter FBO made it ideal.
Cutter is a family-owned business and the Georgetown location, open since April 2022, is its 12th FBO. In addition to its fleet and services helping elevate the municipal airport to an executive-level airport, Cutter has grown and expanded the quality and standards of service.
Owners and travelers alike say the recent additions and changes reflect another evolution in the city’s growing visibility and reputation in the aviation community.
Throughout the three-day convention, more than $1 billion in aircraft was parked and serviced on the tarmac, representing unknown billions in net worth, and contributing to what has become a $60 million economic development resource for the city of Georgetown.
FBO director Will Cutter says the event was historic for Georgetown.
“It was the most planes ever, the most fuel pumped, and we got positive feedback from every pilot. I’ve found, since we opened, that every large local business either hangars their plane here or flies in to do business.”
Rancher, Citation owner, and pilot Jim Schwertner hangars his plane in Georgetown. As a frequent business and recreation flier, he comments, “This airport is the most user-friendly and its growth says, ‘You can bring your business here because we have everything: fuel, charter and training services, and maintenance services.’ Georgetown also has significant traffic flow benefits. Here, pilots do not have to deal with delays getting in and out as is the case at most other general aviation airports, and they love that.”
Georgetown Executive Airport is home to many on-airport businesses that offer services such as FBO amenities, flight instruction, avionics, and aircraft maintenance. The most frequent include flight training, recreational flying, medical transport and evacuation, as well as ranch, powerline, and pipeline patrols.
Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder explains, “Our airport, by itself, is a great revenue generator via lease payments, fuel sales, and charters. But what really makes the difference is the byproduct of attracting the people who use the airport to do business in and around Georgetown.”
Mayor Schroeder points to companies like Titan Development, which is building on several properties locally. The airport enables their executives to fly in, drive just a few minutes to the work sites, and head back to headquarters quickly. “It creates a domino effect,” the mayor adds. “Titan uses our airport to market their developments to companies like battery producer CelLink. They, in turn can market their plant’s proximity to our airport to customers who need their batteries, like Mercedes and BMW who also appreciate being able to fly in, inspect the factory, and fly out with ease.”
The mayor reasons that executives typically function on the principle that time is money and none want to have to drive two hours after they land their jet. “Georgetown has everything company executives need without the hassle.” Jim agrees, “Georgetown Executive has all the resources of a big airport but is run like a small town airport. If you have a problem, the airport manager is right over there, and you can go talk to him.”
Mayor Schroeder adds, “Although Cutter Aviation has taken us to a new level, we must give credit and gratitude to the many companies and FBOs that have made the airport what it is and have built this legacy over decades.”