FBO Review: Five Star Jet Center – (KBAF)
Five Star Jet Center
My grandparents had a profound effect on my life – their individual journeys, their choices, their lives, their wisdom – so it came as no big surprise to me that Joe Occhiuzzo’s grandfather Mario was numero uno on his inspiration list. Not only did Mario live a full and exciting life, but he grasped challenges by the proverbial horns and excelled at whatever he put his mind to. At 54 Mario was given an introductory flight as a gift from his daughter Joanne. By his 59th birthday he was a private pilot. That’s the kind of passion, drive and work ethic that on which Joe O. was raised.
With a background in information technology, Seńor Joe worked for several large companies Dow Jones and the like) before becoming an IT Director for a Central American firm. In 2006, Joe moved back to the States and decided to try flying as a career, something he’d been contemplating since he was 6 and experienced his first flight with his grandfather at Turner Falls (0B5).
Joe O. completed his private pilot training in just 40.4 hours, took his practical test in 2007, and accepted a part-time position with the Five Star Jet Center at Barnes airport (BAF). It wasn’t long before Joe’s principles and strength of character paid off. He worked his way up the line through several positions, finally alighting on General Manager.
Under Mr. Occhiuzzo’s supervision and with the help of his wife Gabriela, Five Star Jet Center has grown in profound and important ways – from maintaining strong communications with local services to actively listening to customer’s needs. These include changing fuel providers to offer the lowest prices in 100LL and Jet A (passing the savings on to pilots), arranging rental cars timed for your arrival, organizing discounts on hotels, and loaning you crew cars should you choose to drop in for a day tour. Joe will even fire up the grill or reach for an ice cream sandwich if you mention you’re a touch peckish!
If you think that you can only get this level of service at a teensy tiny little FBO staffed by Darryl and his other brother Darryl, you will certainly be surprised when you visit Barnes. This is no small potatoes. Five Star Jet Center can handle anything from a single-engine prop to the Philadelphia Sixers, who just happened to drop by in their A-320 last month. If you’re lucky, you may also get to see some of the Massachusetts Air Guard’s F-15s stationed there. I saw two flying less than 50 feet above the runway during my last visit – a total kid-in-the-candy-store moment!
Words like Quality, Value, and Personal Service keep popping up when I’m asked to describe Five Star Jet Center. Ultimately, the true character of an FBO is their customer service: that feeling of being taken care of, looked after, given that little extra attention. This FBO has all of the above.
My recommendation: Go grab your flight bag and start mapping your trip to Barnes (BAF), stopping by the Five Star Jet Center to visit with Joe. I bet he’ll even swap grandpa stories with you