‘Landmark’ change marks new course for aviation firm

LIHUE — Bradley Aviation at Lihue Airport has changed its name following the sale of the airport service provider to new ownership.

Houston-based Landmark Aviation completed the acquisition process of Denver-based Ross Aviation on Aug. 1. The Ross network addition of 18 fixed-based operations throughout the United States will make 75 Landmark FBO locations in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe.

“We are very excited to welcome these 18 locations into our network,” stated Landmark President and CEO Dan Bucaro. “They are geographically a good fit with their strength in the west and Hawaii. We also look forward to building strong relationships with the various airport authorities and being active in each of those communities.”

Ross operated six locations in Hawaii, including Bradley Aviation Pacific in Lihue. It offers fueling, ground service, customs, lavatory service, a passenger lobby, a pilot flight plan center and catering.

Landmark Regional Vice President Charlie Ferraro is based in San Diego, but says his family tries to vacation in Hanalei every year. Now that Landmark owns six Hawaii FOBs, he hopes the trips will be more frequent to Lihue.

The acquisition closing triggered the corporate transition team into place for the 18 locations. The team will be in Hawaii by the mid-August to install the Landmark network, routing system software and complete other back office transition work.

“We expect to be completed by September,” Ferraro said.

Shaen Tarter was the general manager of all six Hawaii locations for Ross, and he remains in charge under Landmark.

“We plan to keep him on board and hope he wants to stay with us,” Ferraro said. “We are excited to have him on board for his knowledge and expertise.”

The Hawaii FOBs are running well with the 145 full-time employees and no layoffs are planned, he said. For the long term, a close look at each location could result in changes depending on local and network needs and customer demands, but the smaller hubs on the neighbor islands are less likely to see major changes.

“It is a well-run business,” he said.

What will change is that Lihue joins a more international network. The Hawaii locations will work well the existing Mainland West Coast FOB locations, and increases Landmark’s ability to provide standardization of general aviation service at more destination airports.

“It is a great fit for our customer base to utilize our network,” he said. “With that standardization they know what to expect when they land.”

With events like hurricanes, Landmark first and foremost makes sure their own people are safe, he said. The major airlines and corporate jets usually pull their planes out ahead of the storm, and they help coordinate connections between others looking for hangar space in Hawaii.

After the storm they make sure the planes that are coming and going with relief are fueled and ready to go.

The FOB service business was growing significantly up until the recession in 2008, when most businesses connected to tourism were hit hard, Ferraro said. It began to improve in 2011 and they anticipate a continuing upward trend for general aviation.

Lihue maintains dedicated airline fuelers and general aviation service providers that perform multiple tasks for commercial and general aviation. Landmark fuels the commercial jets and tour helicopters in Lihue, and performs cabin services for the small jets.

The catering and referral services involve contracted third party vendors from limousine services to hotel agreements.

Marie Cassel, owner of Sweet Marie Hawaii Inc., provided catering services to clients with Bradley, and says nothing has changed with regard to her services other than the name of the company.

“I love working of them,” Cassel said. “They are awesome professionals who do good business.”

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