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Nantucket Memorial Airport’s “Island Factor” Promotes Strong Relationship between FBO and Community

Noah Karberg’s journey at Nantucket Memorial Airport is somewhat unconventional. With a background in Environmental Science and Forestry, Karberg’s career began in research, which brought him to Nantucket Memorial Airport a decade ago to handle the FBO’s data management and analytics projects. His interests and expertise in aviation grew and he soon became the assistant airport manager, moving up to airport manager in 2023.

“While my expertise is in environmentalism, I always had an affinity for aviation and was fortunate enough to have traveled internationally while I was young,” Karberg said. “It’s amazing to look back and see how a completely different line of work introduced me to a new industry, one that I have grown to love.”

An airport owned and operated FBO, Nantucket Memorial began operations in the 1930s when a farmer plowed over his fields to make way for a runway, hoping to allow more vacationers access to the island during the season. During WWII, the FBO was temporarily operated by the Navy who constructed bunkers that are still present on the property. Today, the FBO’s function is crucial to the day-to-day operations of the 105-square-mile island off the coast of Cape Cod.

“We call it ‘The Island Factor’ which means our unique geographical situation impacts everything we do here,” Karberg said. “Our island is a town and a county, and our staff members have many other career roles on the island in addition to what they do at Nantucket Memorial Airport.”

Karberg’s staff totals 35, with 22 working directly with the FBO—all of whom are locals who live on the Island year-round.

“We even get asked about the FBO while at the grocery store,” Karberg said. “We can have these casual, light conversations anywhere at any time because of our knowledgeable and friendly staff who are fully immersed into the development of our community.”

While the staff is critical to a well-run island, so is Phillips 66 Aviation, who continues to help the FBO run smoothly. In one instance, the FBO’s fuel farm was once missing parts during the Fourth of July season and the Phillips 66 team flew in the needed parts just in time for the holiday rush.

“We receive outstanding support from the Phillips 66 team, with discounts, training programs and other available services,” Karberg said. “Nantucket can feel like it is more than just 30 miles off the coast, and with an internationally known fuel provider like Phillips 66, we show our customers that we remain prominent and relevant.”

Unsurprisingly, Nantucket Memorial’s largest customer base is leisure travelers, as the island’s immaculate landscape and glamourous atmosphere draws vacationers and tourists every year.

“We are both a scenic and historic destination, drawing thousands of leisure and high-end luxury travelers every year,” Karberg said. “That frequency has increased in recent years as the typically 3-month season has nearly doubled, as more families are looking to enjoy the island longer during the spring and fall.”

Nantucket Memorial also welcomes many tradespeople and medical professionals, easily transporting groups onto the island. In addition to construction and other trade projects, the FBO partners with UPS for its air carrier services.

With his background in environmental sciences, Karberg takes a special interest in sustainability, especially when it comes to how water and energy are used at the FBO.

“We are directly adjacent to the Atlantic, so we have seen the effects of sea level rise and understand the dire need for quality water,” Karberg said. “Recently we built 10,000 feet of a new water main to ensure we are keeping our water clean.”

Karberg and his team are also considering electric aircraft, as several groups travel to and from the island mainland for medical equipment.

“We currently are undergoing internal planning discussions surrounding infrastructure and how to support charging these aircrafts,” Karberg said.

From its large leisure travel customer base to its sustainability projects, location is what makes Nantucket Memorial Airport stand out amongst the rest. As part of an owned and operated island airport, community comes first for the FBO and how it can aid the area’s ongoing growth and development.