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 new GAT at SBGR in Sao Paulo impacts business aviation
      by Adonis Bastos on November 6, 2019 at 20:40

      A new general aviation terminal recently opened at Description at São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (SBGR). Since the opening, there has been confusion among operators on whether they are required to use the GAT, if they still need a ground handler, and how pricing of the GAT is charged. Here’s what you need to know. The post How the new GAT at SBGR in Sao Paulo impacts business aviation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Tips for Flying a Business Jet to Mexico for the Chiefs vs Chargers Football Game
      by Manuel Girault on November 4, 2019 at 14:30

      Attending the Chiefs vs Rams NFL game in Mexico? Expert advice on which airport to choose, where to park, which ground handler to use and current jet fuel prices. The post Tips for Flying a Business Jet to Mexico for the Chiefs vs Chargers Football Game appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Caribbean Peak Season Bizjet Travel – How to eliminate “island time” ops stress
      by Brandon Sladecek on November 4, 2019 at 12:30

      As the fall and winter temperatures drop across the Northern Hemisphere, flocks of tourists descend upon the crystalline waters and picturesque beaches of the Caribbean islands to relax, recharge and engage in leisurely island time. And while the pace may be slow and the vibe laid-back on the islands themselves, for operators of business jets traveling to the region during the islands’ peak season, issues such as limited parking, hotels and fuel can create operational risk and stress. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure your missions run smooth. 1. Peak travel period Peak travel season in the The post Caribbean Peak Season Bizjet Travel – How to eliminate “island time” ops stress appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • AFAC replacing DGAC in Mexico – separating truth from speculation
      by Juan Muniz on October 31, 2019 at 15:30

      On Oct. 16, 2019, it was announced that Civil Aviation Authority in Mexico (DGAC) would be replaced by a new agency, Civil Aviation Federal Agency (AFAC). Despite rumors and speculation, there are no immediate changes for business aviation operators. Here’s what you need to know about the change. The post AFAC replacing DGAC in Mexico – separating truth from speculation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.