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.

    • Aircraft Security Airside – Top GA Considerations
      by Tracie Carwile on September 16, 2019 at 18:00

      Aircraft guards are recommended for many worldwide locations and can be a worthwhile investment in enhancing safety and security of your operation, personnel and assets. These arrangements need to be considered early in the trip planning process as there are often airport authority restrictions and limitations to consider. The post Aircraft Security Airside – Top GA Considerations appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Ops Update: Upcoming Japan Emperor’s Enthronement in Tokyo – Restrictions announced
      by Hiroshi Higashiyama on September 13, 2019 at 11:50

      On October 22, 2019, Japan will hold an Emperor's Enthronement ceremony for its new Emperor, Naruhito. The event is expected to draw a large contingent of international dignitaries and is expected to impact business aviation operations to the country. The post Ops Update: Upcoming Japan Emperor’s Enthronement in Tokyo – Restrictions announced appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Business Aviation Destination Guide: Indonesia
      by Teguh Prasetyo on September 11, 2019 at 20:00

      Historically, operating to or over Indonesia required significant lead time, as the country had one of the longest lead-time requirements within the business aviation operating environment. Those requirements have been streamlined, making short-notice trips, planned tech stops, and schedule revisions now possible. Here’s everything you need to know about operating a business jet to Indonesia. The post Business Aviation Destination Guide: Indonesia appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Chairman’s Note* Universal to sell UVair Fueling Division to World Fuel Services
      by Greg Evans on August 22, 2019 at 13:30

      Dear Valued Friends and Colleagues, I’m writing to you personally, to inform you of some current developments at Universal. For the last 60 years, Universal has remained the industry leader in international mission support, by remaining nimble, not resting on our past successes, and always adapting to the ever-changing needs, of our industry and customers. Today, I’m pleased to announce that Universal has officially signed an agreement to sell our Contract Fuel Division, UVair, to World Fuel Services. Why did we do it? Universal has the most comprehensive, end-to-end mission management infrastructure in our industry. We integrate more phases of the mission, and we support more global trip legs than […] The post Chairman’s Note* Universal to sell UVair Fueling Division to World Fuel Services appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.