Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aviation Technology

First Advisor

Richard O. Fanjoy

Committee Chair

Richard O. Fanjoy

Committee Member 1

Gozdem Kilaz

Committee Member 2

James L. Mohler

Committee Member 3

John G. Wensveen


Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) are major service providers for the general aviation (GA) sector, which closely connect the public with the aviation industry. However, over the past decade, the U.S. GA industry has experienced a decline in the numbers of registered aircraft, pilots, and airports. Due to the fact that FBOs significantly contribute to the aviation industry, further research studies regarding the FBO-sector at a national level are needed. The purpose of this dissertation was to identify and prioritize the critical success factors (CSFs) that promote the success of FBO operations in the United States.

The methodology consisted of a four-step hybrid method approach including both qualitative and quantitative methods. Data collection involved two rounds of online surveys that were distributed to FBO owners, managers, and employees in the United States. A total of 313 survey responses including 136 initial survey responses and 177 final survey responses were received. According to the survey results, twelve CSFs for successful FBO operations were identified and prioritized. Along with the results, the researcher created an FBO Critical Success Factor Model, which visually presented the CSFs and their priorities. The use of this model may provide a clearer understanding of FBO optimization for FBO managers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and scholars. In addition, this model can be used as guidance to improve profit of an FBO business.