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.

    • How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting business aviation
      by Alan Pong on February 19, 2020 at 14:10

      Special quarantine and health inspection procedures have been enforced in China and other locations in Asia and around the world in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Extra planning and precaution is required if you are planning a trip to China and Asia. The post How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting business aviation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Aircraft Ops planning for the 2020 World Golf Championship – Mexico
      by Universal on February 17, 2020 at 17:01

      Are you operating to Mexico City for the 2020 World Golf Championship – Mexico? Since the tournament moved to Mexico in 2017, it has steadily grown in popularity and attendance, including a sellout in 2019. With a field of 70+ professional golfers, including most of the top 50 players in the world, and more than $10 million in prize money, this is a bucket-list event for golf enthusiasts. The post Aircraft Ops planning for the 2020 World Golf Championship – Mexico appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Attending SDC2020? The Pro’s Guide to getting the MOST from SDC.
      by Anabel Monson on February 17, 2020 at 16:20

      Attending the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatcher Conference (SDC2020)? Expert advice on what to wear, what to do, what to get, where to visit , and more. The post Attending SDC2020? The Pro’s Guide to getting the MOST from SDC. appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • The Best Business Aviation Conferences for 2020
      by Anabel Monson on February 13, 2020 at 14:00

      Here are some of the biggest and best conferences for business aviation that should be on your radar for 2020. The post The Best Business Aviation Conferences for 2020 appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.