Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company headquartered at Teterboro Airport, was actively getting the word out last week at the NBAA Regional Forum in White Plains, NY, about its new facility in Hayward, CA. It was an important event for Meridian to communicate its new location at this Regional because the new FBO and hangar facility at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) is expected to open its doors for business next month. For the first time, the company will have FBOs on both coasts and representatives from all departments were there to help deliver the message, including Air Charter, Aircraft Management, Aircraft Maintenance, Customer Service, Operations, Fuel Sales, and Marketing.
NBAA’s White Plains Regional Forum on Thursday, September 15 set a new attendance record for the venue and was the association’s second-highest attended regional forum in the event’s history with more than 2,800 attendees. The forum was held in a 52,000-square-foot pavilion constructed on the grounds of Westchester County Airport (HPN), and featured 184 indoor exhibitors and 52 aircraft and other vehicles on static display.
Local leaders praised NBAA and the business aviation community for what the industry brings to the region – not only through events such as the regional forum, but also through the jobs, connectivity and economic activity that business aviation supports in the local area. “We really do appreciate your business here,” said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. “This is an important industry to this county. You mean a lot to us. Thank you for doing business here.”
“NBAA and its member organizations are part of what propels our economy forward,” noted New York state Assemblyman David Buchwald, adding that last year, New York passed a measure exempting all general aviation aircraft transactions from the state’s sales and use tax. “There’s a significant opportunity for your industry to expand here in New York.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen told attendees, “we are not just an industry, but we are a community. Today is a celebration of business aviation.” Bolen also discussed the ongoing concern over proposals – which have been put forward as part of a debate in Congress over reauthorization of the FAA – to create a privatized ATC system, funded through new user fees. While Congress set that proposal aside for the remainder of this year – and voted to fund the FAA through September 2017 – the fight isn’t yet over, he said. “Make your voice heard,” Bolen said, urging people to respond when NBAA calls on the industry to use NBAA’s Contact Congress tool to tell lawmakers to vote against any future ATC privatization plans. “This is not a fight that’s going away.”
In addition to hearing from Bolen and the local policymakers, face-to-face interaction was a prime reason for attendance among the thousands of people at the forum. “It’s a good use of your time, you can meet a lot of people in a short amount of time,” said Phil Kanagy, director of corporate flight operations with Duke Energy. Côme Charron, in sales and acquisitions for Guardian Jet, said the back in 2011 when he was looking for a job, he came to an NBAA Regional Forum to meet people, and eventually met his current employer. “NBAA is a great show for us. It’s really easy to meet people,” he said. “All the OEMs are here, the brokers are here, you meet people from the entire industry.” Attendee Paul Giansiracusa, a dispatcher with MCM Aviation, described the forum as an “invaluable tool.” “The face-to-face communication is great,” he added.
Sharing information is also a key part of NBAA Regional Forums, with the White Plains event featuring three sessions on some of the most important matters confronting the industry, including:
1. “How Does Globalization Impact Business Aviation?”, presented by Jay Mesinger, Mesinger Jet Sales
2. “Aircraft Appraisals and Evaluations in an Evolving Market,” presented by Gil Wolin, Business Aviation Advisor; Don Dwyer, Guardian Jet; Dave Labrozzi, Global Jet Capital; and Barb Spoor, Asset Insight/SAI Valuations
3. “Legal Update on Unmanned Aircraft: Friend or Foe?” presented by Greg Cirillo, HCH Legal
John Johnston, a board member with the Westchester Aviation Association (WAA), was presented with NBAA’s Silk Scarf Award at the forum for his long-standing contributions to the business aviation community. Johnston was director of flight operations for the McGraw-Hill Companies, and prior to that, he served as director of aviation for Verizon (GTE). He has been in aviation for more than 38 years, and has type ratings in 10 different aircraft. John also holds an ATP for both SEL and MEL aircraft; flight instructor ASEL, AMEL and instruments. John has been part of the local aviation community since 2001, and has been active with the WAA Career Fair planning community.
The White Plains Forum was the last of the NBAA Regional series in 2016. The schedule for the 2017 NBAA Regional Forums is now available and and will be held on the following dates and locations:
• January 26 – West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
• March 23 – Fort Worth, TX (FTW)
• September 7 – Morristown, NJ (MMU)