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“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

– Andrew Carnegie 

Certain business environments demand a near-perfect teamwork performance more than others, yet in private aviation, everyone agrees that near-perfect is still “a standard too low.”

In trip management (the final interfacing with end user clients), the choreography between controllable variables (i.e. attention to detail) and the uncontrollables (weather) is a delicate dance riddled with inevitable surprises that change up the routine mid-step.

It’s a dance as strong as the weakest team link that only the most talented teams can execute.

Clients rarely realize the hard work and careful systems behind a great trip management performance… and that’s the way it’s meant to be.

It takes years of experience to be effective at complex trip management services on a global scale. Yet FPI routinely receives glowing reviews for great performances, despite being a two-year-young company.

How do they do it? According to FPI Founder Tom Balousek, it boils down to five key principles:

1. Experience

One of the most experienced staff in the industry, the FPI team averages 15+ years of experience apiece and has a combined experience in the hundreds of years. With several hailing from Air Routing (of which Balousek was a co-founder and leader for 30+ years), many team members have 20-30+ years of industry experience working together as a team.

With the legacy of Air Routing’s boutique tone, distinctive customer service qualities, and business acumen learned through decades-long tenure together, FPI performs more like a well-oiled family business vs. a two-year-old start up. Their experience together fuels the FPI engine.

2. Integrated Operations

Experience is key, yet siloed experience is a handicap.

Therefore, FPI’s Operations Department most notably works 24/7 in person at the main office in Houston, TX. As mentioned, the detailed nuances of international trip management are prime for missteps when adding the work-from-home practice into the mix, which is why FPI strives to keep this particular category of teamwork physically deployed together.

For global effectiveness, FPI merges their vast repertoire of experience specialties under one corporate roof, whereas most trip management companies typically outsource services such as

  1. 24/7 operations
  2. weather and flight planning
  3. consultative trip experience specialists
  4. travel agencies
  5. fuel management
  6. global compliance and regulatory specialists
  7. fully custom, internal trip management software development and management
  8. global monetary credit support for airport, handling, and air nav fees in most locations

And by design, FPI converges many departments on single tasks to ensure the global routine is performed with precision. For example, weather and flight plan routings require intense scrutiny from multiple in-house departments so that errors are mitigated when it’s showtime.

3. Upbeat, Collaborative Culture

Established relationships among FPI’s team members near and far instill an in-house trust that fosters quick and decisive actions within the group… a cohesiveness felt by FPI’s many high-expectation clients.

“It’s important to keep a global team feeling like a family,” states Matt Pahl, FPI’s COO. “We glean this technique from the Blackstone Method, where no employee is too small to contribute an idea, and unorthodox solutions require unorthodox approaches.”

“It’s possible to take the job very seriously while not taking ourselves too seriously,” says Roberto Cormack, FPI’s CIO. “Our family has longevity. We want to laugh while we grow, and we want our clients to feel like family while they’re being treated like royalty.”

4. Consistent Growth

“Our New Year’s gift to ourselves was a 5,400 sq. ft. office expansion on January 1st in order to accommodate our team’s continued growth,” states Balousek. “Today, FPI’s footprint exceeds 11,500 sq. ft. for our growing staff.”

“Globally, FPI continues to expand our SSN (Special Services Network), providing enhanced local support services for clients traveling to unique destinations. Our goal is to provide an elegant yet simplified client experience no matter where your travels take you in the world,” states Balousek.

5. Visibility and Accessibility

The new year kicks off with FPI’s presence at the following events:

  • NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers (January, Nashville, TN)
  • NBAA’s Miami-Opa locka Regional Forum (February, Miami, FL)
  • NBAA’s International Operators Conference (February, Austin, TX)
  • NBAA’s Leadership Conference (February, Charlotte, NC)

…and many other events throughout the year.

“Whether digitally, by phone or in person, we want to stay visible and approachable for all our clients and vendors,” says Tiki Mameli, Sr. Sales Manager, Southern USA.

“Agreed,” echoes Dianne Tarantino, Sr. Sales Manager, Northern USA. “We love connecting with our clients in person as often as possible through golf tournaments, regionals, events and meetings, but we’re always only a phone call away from all of our global clients.”

Merely describing these top five performance principles does not adequately do justice to the amount of expertise required to execute an excellent performance in a notable way.

If your operations does not already ingrain FPI into your aviation strategy, allow yourself and your team to experience the wow factor already enjoyed by FPI’s global clients, vendors, and employees, and enjoy concluding their performance with the fulfilled feeling of a “job well done.”

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