It’s time to take flight with ‘Signature’
By Elima Pangorang
Heading along Lagoon Drive on the outskirts of the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, drivers immediately see the line of warehouses and maintenance hangars that dot this 4-mile stretch of asphalt. But by turning onto Kapalulu Place, these travelers soon arrive at a quaint and private airplane charter headquarters, Signature Flight Support.
As one of the largest fixed-based operator chains in the world, Signature, which also is part of BBA Aviation, controls more than 200 combined international and national locations, including a Honolulu base.
“Hawaii is unique in that we provide additional services that are generally not performed at other bases,” explained human resources manager of Honolulu Joylee Butera-Duncan. “Under a Service Contract Agreement with the United States Postal Service, we perform mail handling services at the Honolulu airport. Our fuel farms are part of the Hawaii Fueling Facilities Corp. consortium.”
Signature offers a myriad of industry services for general aviation, like private jets, to commercial aviation. This covers passenger and crew services (the Kapalulu quarters boasts a cozy lodge area where passengers and flight crew can relax, and further enjoy food and beverage refreshment while waiting for flights), refueling aircrafts, providing local transportation (such as to and from hotels), overnight accommodations, office rentals for business passengers and overall aircraft maintenance.
With the several types of services available, Signature employs a wide range of staffers — from refuelers, to customer service representatives and administrators. Each position serves an important role within the company. As expected, customer service and an emphasis on safety are key components among all employees.
“We look for someone who is engaging, who can personally interact with all types of customers — from private aircraft owners to the CEO of a company,” said Butera-Duncan. “We encourage a culture that fosters teamwork. The base has to have a cohesive work environment because one person can’t do it alone. From customer service, to custodial, to valet, to line servicing and fueling, you have to be collaborative in your approach.”
Duty manager Juli Perez, a 17-year veteran of the aviation industry, echoed this sentiment. “At Signature, we aim to provide the best and premier customer service, always striving to exceed customer expectations.”
Perez joined the company when it was just a “mom-and-pop” service business owned by local investors. Over the years, it went through a few changes in ownership until finally being purchased by Signature in 2016.
Having started as a customer service representative, Perez noted there is ample opportunity to grow and move up at the company since there are many different trades to learn.
“The great thing about this job is that it is very exciting and every day is something different,” she shared. “I may not have my boots on today, but I could go out on the ramp and help them out there if the need arises, or I could be inside (taking care of managerial duties).”
Additionally, Perez also mentioned that with Signature’s 200-plus locations, employees have the option to put in for work at other bases and can also be sent as temporary help should the assistance be needed.
“I’ve had people that moved to the mainland to other Signature locations. Sometimes we have special events and we’ve sent employees to help with that, such as when the Super Bowl is taking place and the airports need an extra hand (because of the surplus of business).”
Signature team members should expect to receive valuable experience and countless new skills. Training is very intricate and helpful, as well. “We have several types of training: computer based, classroom and on the job. Our trainers are knowledgeable, experienced and patient with their trainees,” said Butera-Duncan.
Even if candidates are looking for just a peek into the industry, Signature also takes on seasonal hires during the holidays and peak travel seasons. Interested parties can visit the company’s website or call for more information.
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ANTHONY CONSILLIO PHOTOS
COMPANY: Signature Flight Support Honolulu
LOCATION: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport 98 Kapalulu Place, Honolulu
HR MANAGER: Joylee Butera-Duncan
EMPLOYEES: Approximately 250 statewide
BENEFITS: Depending on employment status, an employee may be eligible for medical, dental, vision, 401(k), STD, LTD, life insurance, paid holidays, vacation and sick time. Other benefits oﬀered are education assistance, employee assistance, pet insurance discounts and more.
NOTEWORTHY: The company currently utilizes numerous fuel farms across the state, owned by Hawaii Fueling Facilities Corp., including two on Oahu and a new facility opening by the end of January 2019 at Lihue airport.