Our History

Pioneering the concept.

Our company was founded in 1959 by former United States Air Force meteorologist and network weatherman Tom Evans, who had a vision to provide a service no one else in the world ever had before – customized weather forecasting for business aviation.

That initial vision would continue to grow over the following half century. As business aviation expanded, Universal evolved, adding new services and solutions to meet the changing needs of a growing industry that relied on business aviation aircraft, regardless of location or length of trip.

Tom had an absolute commitment to the success of his clients’ missions, which today is embedded in our DNA and continues to be the foundation of everything we do.

Explore some of our history.

1959 – Tom Evans opens a weather station at Love Field in Dallas, TX, USA under the name Southwest Flight Forecast and Industrial Weather Service, Inc.

1960s – Southwest Flight Forecast and Industrial Weather Service, Inc. changes its name to Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. The company expands with additional locations, including an office at Hobby Field (now Hobby Airport) in Houston, TX, USA. By the end of the 1960s, Universal was providing more than just weather to its clients, offering flight planning and basic trip coordination support. In addition, the iconic plane and radar logo is introduced, which remains the inspiration behind the Universal® logo today.

1970s – As operating business aircraft internationally becomes more common, so does the need to establish a global network of key contacts and ground support providers. Universal begins laying the foundation of what is now its Global Community of people, locations, and trusted third-party providers around the world. Universal adds its own ground support offices in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Spain—and continues to grow its network of FBOs and ground support locations today.

1981 – Universal is already administering the first contract fuel program for business aviation and helping operators reduce their fueling cost. The program is renamed UVair, which remains the name of Universal’s fueling division today and is used by 19,500 aircraft a year.

Did you know? While today’s UVair Fueling Card is black, the original was white.

mid-1980s – Universal moves its worldwide headquarters from Hobby Airport to a two-story building on Tallyho Road, less than a mile away. In 2015, Universal moves to a six-story building on Gemini Street near Johnson Space Center, where it is headquartered today.

1990s – Rapid changes in digital computing and communications technology are evolving the industry. Universal stays on the forefront by expanding its services into web-based flight planning, datalink, color weather graphics for the flight deck, and scheduling software.

2000s – Universal expands its global footprint of people and locations, and renames its owned-and-operated ground handling network as “Universal Aviation.” During this decade, business aviation is under attack by mainstream media. Working with industry associations from around the world, Universal is a strong voice for demonstrating the value business aviation brings to the community.

Today – Universal has 1,700+ people across the globe, in 20+ countries, all working together to help our clients navigate an increasingly complex world. Whether by expanding our Global Community, or introducing new ways to support our clients’ critical missions, we continue to push ourselves to be proactive and innovative in finding new and better ways to help our clients succeed. We also continue to support our industry and the community through our advocacy and philanthropic initiatives. To learn more about Universal today, visit About Us.

  • Explore operational insights from our blog.

    • OPERATING A BUSINESS JET TO THE 2019 ST. PETERSBURG INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM
      by Dmitry Konovalov on May 20, 2019 at 11:30

      The 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) takes place June 1-3. This annual dialog with the international community will focus on key economic and financial issues facing the global community. This is a high traffic event, so it’s recommended that operators make... The post OPERATING A BUSINESS JET TO THE 2019 ST. PETERSBURG INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]

    • Update! Transportation Security Program (TSP) requirements in Australia for Business Aircraft Operators
      by Derek O'Reilly on May 14, 2019 at 22:00

      The Department of Home Affairs has announced that ALL operations into Australia require the TSP, including commercial, unscheduled commercial, and private. The post Update! Transportation Security Program (TSP) requirements in Australia for Business Aircraft Operators appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]

    • Operating to the 2019 Paris Air Show
      by Sandrine Jackson on May 13, 2019 at 11:30

      Taking place every two years, the Paris Air Show is a must-attend event for many in the aviation industry. This year the airshow and exhibition runs June 17-23 at Le Bourget (LFPB). Trade days are June 17-20 with the show open to the public June 21-23. As this will be a busy event, in terms of both airport congestion and hotel availability, it’s recommended to begin trip planning as soon as schedule is known. The post Operating to the 2019 Paris Air Show appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]

    • How to operate a business jet to EBACE in Geneva
      by Brandon Wright on May 7, 2019 at 11:30

      Charter operators need to consider permit lead times as this may complicate short notice trips to Geneva (LSGG)—especially during the busy EBACE2016 period (May 24-26).Having required documentation and information ready will help accelerate the permit acquisition process. Also, be aware of the airport slot process and availability during this event... The post How to operate a business jet to EBACE in Geneva appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]