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.

    • UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) – How it Applies to UK Business Aviation
      by Laura Everington on July 15, 2019 at 11:30

      The UK government extended the Air Passenger Duty (APD) to General Aviation (GA) on April 1, 2013. The good news is that 3rd-party providers, and the industry as a whole, have worked with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to find solutions and clarify the processes for operators. The post UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) – How it Applies to UK Business Aviation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]

    • Chairman’s Note * Universal and Drivania to form new ground transportation joint venture
      by Greg Evans on July 9, 2019 at 19:50

      Universal’s ground transportation business, formally under Universal Private Transport, will combine with Drivania’s business aviation division, Drivania Bizav, to create a new ground transportation company focused on the business aviation industry. The post Chairman’s Note * Universal and Drivania to form new ground transportation joint venture appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]

    • Operating to Mexico: 7 Logistical Tips for Your First Trip
      by Juan Muniz on July 8, 2019 at 13:00

      For a successful and trouble-free trip to Mexico, it’s always best practice for business-aviation operators to plan for a range of logistical issues that may impact a flight. Documentation requirements, as well as operating restrictions, need to be anticipated. It’s also advantageous to plan in advance for jet fuel uplifts, ground handling, hotels and ground transportation. Over recent years, security has become a concern in certain areas of Mexico, and it’s important to be aware of and to mitigate potential risks. 1. Understanding documentation requirements Mexico regulation requires operators to carry original aircraft documents on board when arriving into Mexico. […] The post Operating to Mexico: 7 Logistical Tips for Your First Trip appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]

    • Operating a business jet to Argentina
      by Marcelo Ribet on June 18, 2019 at 16:00

      Over the last few years, Argentina has become an increasingly popular destination for business aviation, particularly among operators who travel regionally between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. While Argentina is a relatively straightforward operating environment for business aviation, with manageable permit processes and no cabotage issues, it’s best to have at least one week’s notice when planning a trip to the country. The post Operating a business jet to Argentina appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog. […]