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.

    • Japan Ops Update – New mandatory luggage inspections and expansion of domestic ops permit
      by Hiroshi Higashiyama on January 21, 2020 at 15:01

      Early in 2020, Japan announced increased security inspections of luggage of arrival/departing private jet passengers as well as an expansion for domestic operation permits. The post Japan Ops Update – New mandatory luggage inspections and expansion of domestic ops permit appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Business Aircraft Ops to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games and Paralympics
      by Hiroshi Higashiyama on January 20, 2020 at 16:28

      The 2020 Tokyo Summer Games and Paralympics are still a year away, but the time to begin planning is now. Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has just released guidelines for non-scheduled aircraft operating to Japan for the Games. The post Business Aircraft Ops to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games and Paralympics appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • Universal Aviation network expands to Turkey!
      by Greg Evans on January 16, 2020 at 14:45

      2020 is off to a busy start for Universal, as we continue to expand our global FBO and Ground Services network - this time in Istanbul, Turkey! The post Universal Aviation network expands to Turkey! appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

    • How to plan a business jet mission to the World Economic Forum at Davos
      by Todd Carter on January 15, 2020 at 20:30

      The World Economic Forum is a high-traffic event draws significant business aviation traffic. Here's what you need to know. The post How to plan a business jet mission to the World Economic Forum at Davos appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.