Ken Forester, Sr. did his part as a member of the Greatest Generation. He was privileged to make his contribution to World War II as a test pilot in the US Army Air Force. His log book is filled with flights in virtually all of the WWII fighter, transport, and bomber aircraft and the first generation of jet fighters, the P-59 and the P-80. Forester mustered out at the close of the war, and moved east to Teterboro Airport, where he formed Mallard Air Service with Bob Hewitt, a decorated B-17 pilot. Mallard eventually occupied the largest hangar at Teterboro, sold fuel, new and used aircraft, and converted C-47 military surplus aircraft into executive transports.
Ken, Sr. left Mallard in 1951 to manage a wire machinery plant in Paterson, and work part time selling and maintaining Navions at Teterboro. In 1958, he was offered a location on the west side of Teterboro and started a new business that he called General Aviation Company. His son, Ken, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and former F-102 pilot, took over full time management of the company in 1974. By 1980, more than 130 aircraft were based at General Aviation and the FAA-approved flight school had a fleet of 33 aircraft. In 1983, a new charter company was formed using piston aircraft.
A new hangar and terminal were built in 1984 and things began to move quickly. The company began selling jet fuel in 1985 and joined the Million Air FBO franchise network the next summer. In 1989, the charter company began operating a Citation SII and entered the jet charter business. The jet maintenance division was added to the charter company in 1995 and it earned an FAA repair station license in 1996. The repair station supports FBO customers and the growing charter fleet. By the end of 1997, the charter company was in the large cabin business, operating an internationally-capable Gulfstream II.
In 2006, the company concluded a 20-year affiliation with Million Air. The four business units were combined as divisions of the Meridian Companies. Meridian Teterboro, the FBO, opened a new 30,000 sq. ft. passenger terminal and headquarters. The design of the new terminal harkened back to the art deco style of the 1930s and 1940s. A new 40,000 sq. ft. hangar for maintenance and storage was added in 2007.
Between 2008 and 2012, Meridian Aircraft Management added six aircraft to its charter fleet, including several Gulfstream IVSPs and Challenger 601s, a Falcon 900EX EASy, a Falcon 2000SP, and a Global 5000. Authorized by the FAA for world-wide operations, these aircraft have flown to the far reaches of the globe to places like Thimphu, Bhutan, Ushuaia, Argentina, and Broome, Australia. In 2012, Meridian went “bi-coastal,” opening sales offices in San Jose and Santa Rosa, CA. These offices support our aircraft based in White Plains, Boston, Rockland, Manchester, Denver, and Hayward.